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ISLAMABAD: The government has announced a reduction in the fares of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Railways (PR), following the recent cut in petroleum products prices; however, private transporters are reluctant to pass on the relief to the general public, terming the reduction “eyewash”.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had announced Rs18.50 per litre cut in the price of petrol and Rs40.54 per litre in that of high-speed diesel.

Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique on Saturday announced 10 per cent reduction in fares of PIA and PR, which would be effective from July 17, 2022, following the recent cut in fuel prices.

Rafique said in a video message that the PIA and PR had also decided to pass on the benefit of lower fuel prices to their customers. The reduction is being done in economy class fares of mail express trains and similarly, a relief of 10pc is being given for both classes of PIA’s domestic flights.

The railways minister said the Civil Aviation Authority would also instruct private airlines to reduce their fares. “We believe that the provincial governments will also take measures for fare reduction after contacting transporters,” he added.

PM Shehbaz announces cut in petrol price by Rs18.5 per litre

The PIA through its official Twitter account announced that on the advice of the government and the minister, the PIA will be reducing its domestic fares by 10 per cent, to pass on the impact of reduction in fuel prices in the country. The reduced fares will be valid for a period of one month and will be applicable w.e.f. July 17, 2022.

The federal cabinet, on Friday, directed the related federal and provincial authorities to ensure that the impact of the cut in petroleum prices immediately reaches the people in the shape of reduced fares and transportation costs. However, an anecdotal survey conducted by Business Recorder revealed that transporters wanted further reduction in petroleum products as the current decrease was not sufficient, while saying that petroleum products prices increased manifold during the last few months.

A visit to different bus stations revealed that passengers were expecting some cut in fares both in intra-city and inter-city transport; however, it was found that no reduction in fares was made by the transporters.

The residents of the twin cities who use public transport accused the transporters, as well as, authorities for failing to ensure appropriate steps are taken to ensure that the benefit of reduction in oil price is passed onto the common man. They urged the government to take effective measures to provide relief to the people after reduction in the oil prices. “Whenever there is an increase of even a single rupee in the price of petrol and diesel, transporters increase fares manifold immediately, which is disproportionate to actual increase in petroleum products prices. Now when the prices have come down, they are refusing to bring down the fares,” a passenger said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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