ISLAMABAD - After failure in negotiations with the government, the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association Tuesday announced that their strike would continue until their demands are met as many cities faced with petrol shortage.

“Our talks with the government have failed and the strike will continue”, said All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owner Association Chairman Yousuf Shahwani while talking to media here. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources convened the meeting of the representatives of All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association, All Pakistan Carriage Contractors Association, All Marketing Companies (OMCs) aimed to pursue the oil tanker association to call off their strike. The meeting was presided over by Secretary Petroleum and was attended by Chairperson OGRA and representatives of Oil Tankers and OMCs. Meanwhile, the OGRA also accused OMC of playing behind the scene and supporting the oil tanker strike.

The APOTOA and APCCA on last Monday also announced countrywide strike to protest the implementation of 2009 safety rules imposed by the OGRA.

The OGRA had initiated checking of the tankers being used by oil marketing companies to reduce the frequent accidents. According to OGRA, around 40 per cent of oil tankers are substandard and do not fulfil the criteria.

After the inconclusive meeting, the rude representatives of the oil tankers associations chanted anti-motorway police, anti-NHA and anti-OGRA slogans and refused to comply with OGRAs regulations regarding the use of substandard vehicles for transportation of fuel.

Yousuf Shahwani said that All Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Association and All Pakistan Carriage Contractors Association have presented their list of demands and the government refused to accept it.

Shahwani said that they decided not to hold talk with government anymore as the behavior of chairperson OGRA was derogatory. “We were told by chairperson OGRA that the regulator wouldn’t talk to them as they are not their licencee,” he alleged. “She said that the OMC is their licencee and they will only talk to them,” he said.

He said that they will not accept OGRA regulation. Besides the OGRA regulations, the representatives also condemned the motorway and NHA police mistreatment and alleged them of highhandedness.  The APOTOA presented list of demands to the government which includes increase in freight rate, abolition of National Logistic Cell (NLC) from the oil transportation business, stoppage of oil transportation to Peshawar via train, opening of Kohat tunnel for oil tankers, decrease of explosive permit rate, allow work with same axel etc. He said that explosive department is charging Rs10,000 instead of Rs1,000.

He said that the oil tanker association will not accept the government plan of increasing the number of oil tankers’ axles, from two to five. Shahwani said that they had a two-axle agreement with NHA, which was in place for the last one decade.

To a query regarding Bahawalpur oil tanker fire incident, he said the company or oil tanker was not responsible for the incident and held the people who were stealing oil responsible for the untoward incident. Chairman APOTOA warned that if their demands were not met then the strike would continue.

Meanwhile Spokesperson OGRA Imran Ghaznavi accused the OMC of working behind the oil tanker strike and said that such marketing companies cannot hide for long time and will be soon exposed.

He also accused oil tankers association of blackmailing and said: “We are ready to talk with the APOTOA and can make some relaxation but there will be no compromise on the safety of Pakistanis”.

He said that OMCs were required to implement the 2009 rule in 2014 however despite the passage of eight years it was not implemented. “During the entire time neither the OMC nor the APOTOA raised any objections to the rule but when OGRA started its implementation they have started protesting”, he added.

DEALERS DEMAND INCREASE IN PROFIT MARGIN

Taking advantage of the oil tankers association’s strike, Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association also demanded an increase of Rs5 per litre or 250 percent increase in profit margin on the POL products.

“We have demanded the government to increase the dealers’ profit margin from Rs2 per litre to Rs7 per litre on petrol and diesel,” Chairman Pakistan Petroleum Dealer Association Abdul Sami Khan told newsmen after talks with the officials of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources.

He said talks with the government were focused on the three main issues, including enhancement of dealer’s margin, smuggled petrol and use of substandard oil tankers.

Regarding profit margin, Abdul Sami claimed that the government has assured them of upward revision in their profit margin. ”We are now satisfied with the government assurance,” he said.

In 2011 also, the PPDA had sought Rs5 per litre commission on two main oil products but the government didn’t accept the demand. However, the margin was increased on petrol and diesel from Rs1.75 and Rs1.45 per litre respectively to Rs2 per litre.

He said the second issue was related to the smuggled petrol which has negative impact on the business of petrol pumps. There are complaints that retail outlets, particularly in countryside, are involved in selling substandard petrol, especially by mixing it with smuggled Iranian petrol.

Regarding the implementation of oil tankers safety standards, he said that Petroleum Dealers Association fully supports the government stand on the issue.

PETROLEUM SHORTAGE IN BALOCHISTAN

STAFF REPORTER from Quetta adds: All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association strike on Tuesday caused shortage of petroleum products in Balochistan while it became heyday for the dealers doing illegal business of Iranian petrol and diesel.

A wave of grave concern gripped the provincial capital after motorcyclists visited closed petroleum pumps one after another. As per reports, almost all petrol pumps in Quetta were found closed as the oil suppliers were on strike.

All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association Balochgistan President Haji Dawood Kurd and Vice President Ismail Bangulzai alleged the motorway police had perturbed tankers’ owners on the pretext of challans while the National Highway Authority officials were busy in taking bribes.

Monitoring Desk adds: Shortage of petrol was also reported in many cities of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to a private TV channel, over 40 percent filling stations of Karachi were shut down due to petrol shortage.