PESHAWAR - Association of the oil tankers’ owners threatened to halt supply to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa if the authorities did not lift ban on oil transportation through Kohat tunnel within next two days.

All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners’ Association Chairman Shafi Marwat said while speaking at a news conference on Thursday that the authorities had banned movement of oil tankers through the Kohat tunnel for the last eight months, causing host of difficulties for them. He said that around eleven oil tankers had plunged into deep ravines while passing through the alternate route in Kotal Mountains, causing death of a number of drivers.

The association chairman said that the issue had been raised with the authorities concerned, but to no avail. He said that the government was collecting billions of rupees from oil tankers’ owners under the head of various taxes, but still was behaving step-motherly with them. The ban on carrying tankers through the Kohat tunnel has adversely affected our business due to the additional charges inflicted on the transporters while using the Kotal mountainous route, he said.

Marwat criticised the incumbent government for failing to resolve the issue. He said that the oil tanker owners’ community was like a backbone for the national economy, so the government should extend them facilities instead of taking such measures which are harmful for them. He urged the government to announce a compensation package for the affected oil tanker drivers, who lost their lives while supplying oil through Kotal mountainous region.

The association chairman stressed the KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and concerned officials to lift the ban to mitigate the sufferings of the tanker owners. Otherwise, they announced suspending oil supply to different parts of the province from November 11. Marwat also supported the strike call on November 13 against the government for violating written agreement about the increase of fares between Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, the oil tanker owners’ association and the contractors’ association on October 25.

According to the agreement, he said, the government had accepted to increase fares for long routes by 20 per cent and for local routes by 64 per cent. But the authorities did not follow the agreement, he said, adding that the tanker owners’ association had given a strike call for November 13 across KP.