Staff Reporter/Agencies  

LAHORE- Motorists and commuters found it hard to reach their destinations on Tuesday as gas stations across the country remained closed for the second consecutive day in protest of CNG retailers against the ‘low price’ of gas.Closure of CNG stations in Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Nawabshah, Larkana, Mirpur Khas, Faisalabad, Sargodha,Multan, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Haripur, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Quetta and other cities caused great deal of trouble for people.CNG unavailability has adversely irked the rickshaw and taxi drivers who expressed their frustrationby parking their vehicles in the middle of roads and caused traffic jams in many cities.People in many cities held protest against the strike. In Karachi private car owners blocked the MA Jinnah Road against the action of CNG sellers.Massive queues of vehicles were seen at a few distributers-operated gas stations in Karachi that remained open. Public transport was also rare on roads due to the unavailability of gas.Though CNG associations had not officially given a strike call, gas stations remained shut and station owners did not give a definite time for their strike.“98 percent CNG stations in Karachi were shut to protest against the unjust retail price of CNG,” a senior office-bearer of All Pakistan CNG Association said. “The majority CNG stations in other parts of Sindh also remained closed.”CNG stations in Lahore zone are closed under SNGPL’s load management schedule and would open on Thursday, provided that the issue resolved between Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority and retailers.  The All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) said that owners of the fillings stations closed their outlets as the last resort because they were unable to bare more losses. “CNG business is no more viable as recent developments have left owners of filling stations with no option but to take loans to pay the utility bills and salaries,” a APCNGA statement said. The association’s supreme council chairman Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha said:  “We don’t want to burden masses therefore the government should introduce uniform rates of gas and uniform taxation to provide relief to masses.”  Paracha said that Ogra had accepted in Monday’s negotiations that CNG sector was overtaxed.  “CNG associations gave three options to ORGA regarding the price determination and now it is up to the government to accept any of the option to keep the price in range of the inflation-stricken masses.”Giving details, Paracha said that they proposed prices of gas and taxation according to that imposed on fertiliser, industrial and power sectors. In the first option, the prices of CNG in region one and two will become Rs42.26 and Rs44.99 respectively. The second option will bring retail price of CNG to Rs68.80 and Rs 65.63 in regions and if third option is accepted, the prices will be Rs72.04 in region one and Rs 68.59 in region two, he said. Paracha said that only way to make prices rational while ensuring relief to masses was reduction in taxes and surcharge.Drivers, at few gas stations where gas was available, waited for hours in queue to get filling. They said that low pressure of gas was causing a further delay in their turn.Meanwhile, a lawyer, Zulfiqar Bhutta, filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the unannounced strike by the CNG stations, maintaining the strike was tantamount to contempt of court.