Energy minister urges PPDA to call off strike, warns illegitimate demands will not be accepted
- Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association is protesting against 'low profit margins'
As the countrywide strike by the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) began on Thursday, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar urged the owners of petrol pumps to revisit their decision, also warning that their illegitimate demands will not be accepted.
The PPDA announced to go on a countrywide strike from Thursday (today) onwards to register their protest against low-profit margins due to which pumps in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and other cities are closed causing severe issues for the public.
In a statement today, Azhar assured the petroleum dealers that their genuine demands will be accepted, adding that a summary has already been forwarded to the Economic Coordination Committee regarding an increase in their profit margins, according to Radio Pakistan.
Amid strike-call, PSO and Shell say these petrol stations are still operating
The minister informed that the decision on the matter will be taken in the next meeting of the Committee but stressed that illegitimate demands will not be accepted.
"Some groups want to use this strike to have a raise of nine rupees. A nine-rupee raise cannot be granted just to benefit a few companies."
PPDA’s Secretary Noman Butt while talking to Business Recorder, said around 8,000 petrol stations will close at 6am from Thursday for an indefinite period across the country, including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
PPDA to go on strike from today
Meanwhile, in Peshawar, a vast majority of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) stations were closed, while long queues were formed outside the few stations that were open. Similarly, in Balochistan, all stations were closed till the government agreed to the demands of the dealers.
Moreover, only 62 petrol stations of different companies, including the PSO, were open for motorists across Lahore, Deputy Commissioner Lahore Umer Sher Chatha said on Twitter.
However, oil marketing companies have repeatedly stated through their platforms that their own fuel stations would be open. Companies including PSO and Shell have released a list of their company-operated and company-owned fuel stations opened in different cities of Pakistan.
"Govt failed to honor its commitment to increase margins of the dealers'
While speaking at a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Wednesday, Chairman PPDA Abdul Sami Khan said that the government has failed to honor its commitment to increase the margins of the dealers.
Khan said that PPDA had demanded 6% margin for the dealer from the present 2.5%.
Chairman PPDA pointed out that the federal government had invited the dealers association to come to Islamabad. In the said meeting the matter was discussed in detail and the government authorities agreed to a margin of the dealers.
Long queues at fuel stations ahead of dealers' strike-call
Meanwhile, in a statement, spokesman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) stated that the authority has taken serious notice of people/entities who are trying to disrupt oil supplies on the pretext of an increase in dealer margin.
“All Oil Marketing Companies have been advised to ensure uninterrupted oil supplies at the retail outlets and OGRA enforcement teams are infield to ensure the same. Anyone involved in oil disruptions causing public inconvenience shall be dealt strictly in accordance with OGRA laws,” he added.
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