LAHORE - The petrol problem has been looming large for the past seven.

Carrying cans, bottles, cartons polythene bags, thousands of people including women and children have been on patrol in search of petrol.

Around 90 per cent filling outlets of various companies have been shut down and the rest have been on profiteering spree. The authorities have been stooped to blame game. The government has been issuing to-be-resolved mantra while the opposition has been cashing in on the situation.

“We left our house at 6am in search of petrol but found nowhere,” said a resident of Icchra. Those who have managed to find petrol complained that it was being sold at inflated prices. “I paid Rs200 per litre for petrol – more than double price,” said Naveed, a trader at The Mall.

Frustrated and exhausted in search of fuel, people expressed their anger against the government and chanted ‘Go-Nawaz-Go’ slogans at many places.

SNGPL Managing Director Arif Hameed said that the company, in order to ease the current petrol crisis, restored CNG supply to gas stations in Lahore ‘till further orders’.

Although the company has been facing severe shortage to meet the demand of domestic consumer, it will supply CNG to motorists, he added. However, majority of the gas outlets are not supply gas to vehicles in the City.

All Pakistan CNG Association’s representative Captain (r) Shuja said that around 70 gas stations were providing as out of 270 CNG stations in Lahore. Majority of the CNG stations were facing the problem of staff shortage, he added.

Central leaders of All Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association Khawja Atif said that a ship carrying 50,000-tonne fuel has started supplying fuel to Northern Punjab through tankers whereas two ships carrying 50,000 tonnes each will reach the Karachi port on January 25 and 27. He hoped the supply of fuel would improve till Wednesday.

Despite claims of city district, the overcharging by individual vendors who collected fuel by connivance of petrol pump staffers is continued. The city district administration announced appointing staff at petrol pumps to monitor overcharging and said the persons involved in overcharging would not be spared.

Fuel crisis also caused an additional shortfall of 1,500mw to already existing shortfall of 2,500mw increasing the loadshedding during from 10 hour to 14 hour in urban and rural limits of the country. The hydel generation is already low due to continuing canal closure period.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Secretary Nazar Hayat Gondar chaired a meeting to review the situation. Top officials attended the meeting, said a handout. The secretary directed his subordinates to step up efforts for ensuring the supply of commodity.

During the meeting, it was decided that the oil companies would be bound to report to the district administration about the supply. Moreover, sale of oil in black market would be curbed at all costs.