LAHORE – The CNG stations which were supposed to open on Thursday (today) are likely to remain closed throughout week in the City.

The severe shortage of CNG and availability of LPG at high price led disappearance of public transport at urban routes since both kinds of fuels are being used in majority of vehicles. Million of commuters, already having limited public transport facilities, have no alternate but to bear this mess with patience. Lahore needs around 2,000 buses to cater the need of millions of passengers but hardly 300 standard buses are currently plying on roads. The old, uncomfortable and risky transport has taken space of the scarcity at the cost of commuters’ lives. The unfortunate travellers are even unable to get these old-dated buses with substandard CNG-fitted cylinders. The transporters either prefer to off-road their vehicles or increase fare around 30 per cent during the days of CNG shortage. They argue that running transport on LPG or petrol is costly hence they have no choice but to increase the fare — thanks to the permanent absence of transport authorities who never think for relief of commuters. The vans are charging Rs15 for minimum stop-to-stop fare while new bus operators are charging Rs20 in clear violation of fare list issued by Transport department after 30 per cent slash in CNG price.

One can see dozens of passengers standing and waiting for local transport at every bus stop. These vehicles can be seen after at least half an hour at Canal Road, Jail Road, Ferozpur Road, Wahdat Road. However, as many as 85,000 Chingchi rickshaws are running in majority of city’s routes. It is worth mentioning that Lahore Transport Company, which monitors urban transport sector in Lahore, has nothing to do but to accumulate funds in shape of heavy challans of rickshaws and vans.

Interestingly, they take no action against any overloaded buses of the private companies.

On the other side, the SNGPL, so far, has not announced any schedule for the opening of the CNG stations in Lahore region. The gas stations faced closure during all past week as well, however, they were opened on Sunday for a single day. The company says that increasing demand in domestic sector and a sudden fault appeared in Malamzai Gas field are the two main reasons behind the closure of pumps. The glitch in Malamzai Gas Field has caused further 75 million cubic feet gas to run out of the system. The CNG stations in Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Rawalpindi regions were scheduled to open from Wednesday; however, SNGPL announced to close down gas supply to the CNG stations in these regions owing to the shortage. The CNG stations will not be opened in other regions of the province including Lahore as well till Sunday, said sources.