RAWALPINDI - A large number of schools and colleges private van owners, who are associated with business of students pick and drop, staged a three-hour long sit-in at Liqauat Bagh on Benazir Bhutto Road (BBR) Wednesday against the district government's decision to remove CNG cylinders from these vehicles and demanded of the government to issue unbiased policy regarding the CNG cylinders installment and remove them from private cars also.

The protest caused a massive traffic jam on the main road and its linking roads, creating immense troubles for commuters and pedestrians. Later, the protestors dispersed after negotiations with Secretary Regional Transport Authority (RTA).

The protestors were carrying placards and banners mentioning slogans against CDGR, Regional Transport Authority (RTA) and Punjab government. They demanded Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice of the issue as converting the vehicles on petrol or diesel would be a huge burden on poor parents of the students.

It is pertinent to mention here that the district government on Monday last had given the transporters a one-week deadline to remove CNG cylinders installed in passengers' compartment or face the music. This sparked unrest among tens of thousands of transporters who took to the streets and on roads to register their strong protest against the decision.

Led by Raja Shahid, at least 700 owners of school and college vans gathered at Liaquat Bagh parking their vehicles with both sides of the main road and even in the middle, triggering massive traffic jam.  Scores of students could not attend their schools or colleges because of this protest.

Muhammad Wasim, owner of a Suzuki carry van, told The Nation the decision of CDGR was totally unwise and unprecedented. He said that it will be very difficult for them to remove CNG cylinders and run their vehicles on petrol. "Suppose, I obey CDGR orders and ply my carry van on petrol, then it will surely be a financial burden for poor parents of students" he said. He demanded the government to revert its anti-poor decision.

Raja Naseer, another owner, termed the CDGR's decision a big joke with the helpless and poor owners of vans proving pick and drop service to students. Blasting the decision, another transporter said that where they should install the CNG cylinders instead of passengers' compartment. "It will be very dangerous even if they fix it on the rooftops".