Islamabad                 -             The Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Distributors in Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Northern Areas are likely to go on strike this week as a protest against less profit margin and high transportation cost of the commodity.

A small domestic LPG cylinder of 11.8kg cost Rs350 to Rs400 in transportation charges which increase the cost of the LPG cylinder while decrease the margin of the distributors, LPG Industries Association of Pakistan Chairman of Irfan Khokhar told The Nation here Tuesday.

 He said that in Bagh and Battagram distributors have already closed their outlets while the rest of AJK,GB and Northern areas distributors are planning to go on strike within next couple of days. He said on the LPG cylinder of 11.8kg the transportation related cost to the hilly area is around Rs350 to Rs400 which make it expensive in these areas while the profit margin of the distributors decreases. On the other hand the district administration is trying to force the distributors to sell the LPG at lower price which is not possible, he said. He said while determining LPG price, OGRA determines the Marketing and distribution margin under the same column which should be changed. He said that OGRA should separately mention the marketing and distribution margin. 

We also acknowledge your decision of reduced petroleum prices for poor people of Pakistan and we expect that LPG Industry would also be relieved by the Government of Pakistan.

Separately in a letter to Prime Minister of Pakistan the LPG distributor Association said that “I want to bring into your kind knowledge that LPG is poor people‘s fuel and an economic alternative of Petrol/Diesel for household where Natural gas is not available. LPG plays a Vital role in household usage in northern areas of Gilgit Baltistan & AJK where weather is usually cold and people cut forest to meet their energy requirements.

Ideally in these mountainous areas LPG should always be easily accessible on affordable rates but it is not the case. OGRA LPG Consumer Price notification allow us to set criteria for pricing throughout the supply chain but freight charges in northern areas i.e. Gilgit Baltistan, Abbotabad, Mansehra, Diamir, Skardu, Hunza Muzafarbad, Kotli, Rawalakot, Bhimber Bagh  NeElum & other northem areas of Batgram Shangla, Kohistan (lower & upper) etc are higher than other parts of the country and LPG Distributors of these areas are not satisfied with the pricing because these higher freight charges left them with no profit margins.

The association recommends that OGRA must separately announce LPG Consumer Price for Gilgit Baltistan, AJK and for other northern areas. Further OGRA must pass instructions to related departments to announce separate margins for LPG Marketing Companies and LPG distributors in its LPG Consumer Price Notification. Further, OGRA should pass instructions to LPG Marketing companies to deliver supply to LPG Distributors in Gilgit Baltistan and in Azad Jammu & Kashmir or recommend local government, Deputy Commissioners to set up freight (transportation cost) with coordination of LPG Distributors Association keeping in view the OGRA LPG Consumer Price every month.