LAHORE - Transporters went on strike across the Punjab on Wednesday to protest against the unjustified increase in the prices of petroleum products, multiplying the miseries of masses. A great number of passengers were witnessed helplessly waiting for public transport at the bus stops to reach their destination as the public transport disappeared from the roads on Wednesday morning. The inter-city (air-conditioned) bus service owners have increased 10 per cent fares while the urban transporters observed complete strike against the hike in fuel prices across the Punjab. We will also observe complete wheel-jam strike on Thursday (today), said Bashir Siyal, Chairman Urban Bus Owners Association Punjab. Taking advantage of the situation, the rickshaw and taxi drivers demanded high fares from the passengers who had to reach their destination urgently in the absence of public transport. The urban transporters observed complete strike in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and other big cities of the province. The urban transporters association has demanded the government to immediately withdrew unjustified increase in fuel prices or allow them reasonable increase in stop-to-stop fares. Otherwise, they will continue wheel-strike for an indefinite period. On the other hand, the transporters have increased fares on the inter-city routes following substantial increase in the prices of petroleum products. The commuters in the City witnessed complete disappearance of public transport vehicles from roads while a few buses were seen in some areas, which were overloaded with passengers. Hundreds of buses ply on city roads everyday. However, citizens suffered a lot, as there was no bus or coach on their regular routes early in the morning. I do not understand what the government is doing except multiplying the miseries of masses. The government has increased fuel prices to suck blood of the innocent public and now the transporters went on strike to increase fares, putting more burden on the already inflation-hit public, commented Mushtaq Ahmed, a passenger while he was waiting for bus at Samanabad Chowk Multan road. When contacted, Chairman Urban Bus Owners Association Punjab Bashir Siyal said most of buses plying on the City roads have already vanished due to unprecedented increase in the fuel prices. There were 1500 buses on urban routes in Punjab about one year ago and now only 900 are left. Similarly some 1,100 buses were plying in Lahore and now only 600 are left. We could not afford to continue our business under present circumstances, he added. He further said the government should give subsidy to the transporters if it did not want to allow increase in the transport fares on urban routes. We have been left with no other option but to go on strike. The federal government is frequently and recklessly increasing the fuel prices while the provincial government is not allowing us to increase transport fares, he added. We will not call off wheel-jam strike unless the government redress our genuine grievances, he said. He also said it was unfortunate they did not receive any positive response from the government in this regard so far. Therefore, he said, we are bound to continue wheel-jam strike. Another bus owner, when contacted, said the strike was completely observed by all the transporters against the alarming increase in fuel prices. He said the purpose behind the strike is to convey the message to the government it should revise its decision of hiking fuel prices. We cannot run buses after purchasing diesel on price, he added. He further says if the government does not pay any heed to the call of transporters, it would lead to same consequences in form of more strikes. He highlighted that another meeting of public transporters would be called on Thursday to review their further strategy. The public sufferings are multiplying with every passing day as the so-called people-friendly PPP-led government has badly failed to provide any relief to the masses, Muhammad Aslam, a schoolteacher said. Waseem Ahmed, a college student said, Thieves are sitting at the helm of affairs and they have nothing to do with masses sufferings.