Oil tankers stop fuel supply to hilly areas

ISLAMABAD –  Fear of fuel shortage is looming over Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral as oil tankers have stopped supply of fuel to these areas.

Since the government has delayed the increase in oil tankers fares the oil supply to these hilly areas has been completely choked and the fuel shortage on the petrol pumps is going to start within one week, said All Pakistan Oil Tankers and Contractors Association General Secretary Nauman Ali Butt while talking to media here.

When asked for how many days do you think the oil shortage crises will start in those areas, Nauman Butt replied that currently these areas have 0.7 million litres of fuel supplies and it will take a week for drying the pumps. The daily consumption of fuel in these areas is 50000 to 60000 liters and the crisis is going to start by the end of current week, he said.

Except PSO no other oil company has storage depot in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral and therefore they are totally relying on the supply of tankers on daily basis. PSO has a depot in Jaglot, GB, while Chitral and AJK are without any depot. However, he said in Azad Jammu and Kashmir the oil supply was stopped partially as, despite the oil tankers strike, they are getting fuel from other sources and routes, he said. But, he said that this supply is not enough to run the AJK for long time and since there is no bulk supply therefore the crises will eventually get severe. He said that the strike will continue till a notification for the increase in fares is issued.

He said the government is delaying the execution of its promise regarding enhancement of freight charges for those areas. Even on Monday, an OGRA official called and invited us for talks but we have simply told them that instead of wasting time issue the notification,” he maintained.

He said that the representatives of All Pakistan Oil Tanker Owners Association (APOTA) and Oil Tankers Contractor Association (OTCA) met with chairperson Ogra, last week, for the enhancement of freight charges for the oil tankers carrying oil to GB, AJK and Chitral but response was not very positive. He said that fares for those areas have not been revised during the past six years.

“In October, last, the government committed that they will upward revise the freight rate of oil tankers for Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral within one month but now they are using delaying tactics,” he said. The representatives All Pakistan Oil Tanker Owners Association (APOTA) and Oil Tankers Contractor Association (OTCA) and government agreed for the enhancement of freight charges of the oil tankers for the entire Pakistan in two phases.

 In first phase, the government allowed an increase in fares for the oil transportation in city and muddy/hilly areas, while in second phase it promised to allow an increase in the freight charges for Gilgit Baltistan, AJK, Jaglot, Chitral and other hilly areas.

It is pertinent to mention here that an agreement, for the increase in freight charges, was reached on 25th October at a meeting between the officials of the Petroleum Division, Ogra and All Pakistan Oil Tanker Owners Association (APOTA) and Oil Tankers Contractor Association (OTCA). However, OGRA didn’t inform the OCAC about the decision. Disappointed by the delay in announcement, APOTA and OTCA had given a fresh call for strike on November 13. The strike was postponed as on 10th November, Ogra upward revised the fares for oil transportation and allowed up an increase of 19.7 percent to 63.93 percent in fares of different slabs of oil transportation. The new fares were made effective from November 1st. and will stay in effect for next two years. Under the decision, the freight for cities was increased by 63.9 per cent while for long distance it would be 19.7 percent. However, it was agreed that the freight rate for the Gilgit- Baltistan, AJK and Chitral would remain the same and would be revised within one month.

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