RAWALPINDI - The violent transporters refused to accept the incentives in term of increasing fares by City District Government Rawalpindi and demanded provision of CNG to public transport in the twin cities.

They also leashed out at the Punjab government for jamming the wheels of local public transport and for providing CNG to metro bus in Lahore and to the buses plying from Gujar Khan to Raja Bazaar, Rawalpindi.

The Muttahida Transport Federation (MTF) and Suzuki Owners and Drivers Welfare Association (SODWA) staged a massive protest demo at Karcheri Chowk against the government and SNGPL for suspension of gas to CNG pumps. The protestors, led by MTF Chairman Raja Muhammad Riaz and numbering in more than 600, blocked Katcheri Chowk by parking their 150 Suzukis and Toyota Hiaces for four hours. They were holding placards and banners and chanting slogans against Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shehbaz Sharif and SNGPL high-ups for suspension of gas to CNG pumps. They also staged a sit-in there.

The mess of transporters in Katcheri Chowk triggered massive traffic gridlock across the city; posing hardships for commuters and pedestrians. The prominent among the protestors were SODWA President Raja Bashir and Secretary General Haji Zaman, Qalandar Khan, Cannt Suzuki Drivers and Owners Association President and Malik Shabir of Wagon Union.

Raja Riaz condemned the government for suspension of gas to CNG sector owing to which the transporters facing troubles. He said that this draconian decision of PML-N government has unemployed more than 250,000 transporters of the twin cities. He said that the government was filling their pockets by providing CNG to its own bus service in Lahore and Rawalpindi but sucking the blood of poor families of transporters by closing CNG. He demanded earlier opening of CNG to pumps so that the transporters could earn bread and butter for their families.

The commissioner Rawalpindi and district coordination officer (DCO) sent Secretary Regional Transport Authority to hold talks with transporters and convene them to end sit-in.

The secretary RTA negotiated with transporters’ representatives and told them that the government was ready to increase the fares of public transport as per petrol prices. However, the transporters refused to accept this proposal and demanded earlier provision of CNG to public transport.

On the other hand, crowds of commuters looking for a Suzuki or Hiace were seen at many bus stops and jostling each other to board on available transport. The taxi and rickshaw owners looted passengers by charging double fares from them to bring them on their destinations.