Another day without CNG

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LAHORE: With commuting problems continuing on the second day of the government-announced CNG holiday on Wednesday, citizens received marginal relief from the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) who announced they will not observe a CNG strike today (Thursday).
Adding another day to the CNG closure schedule, the government had announced Wednesday as a day-off for CNG. Citizens using CNG for travel faced tremendous trouble as the second day of the closure passed by.
CNG pumps across town offered a deserted sight. The APCNGA staged a protest rally, which started from the Lower Mall and made its way to the Civil Secretariat.
Addressing the rally, APCNGA Chairman Ghiyas Paracha said owners of the city’s 2,000 CNG filling stations might have to shut down operations owing to the second day off as they would not be able to pay back their loans.
He added that the stations’ closure would result in the loss of 22,000 jobs.
Paracha said CNG was the choice fuel of the lower and middle classes with petrol and diesel prices spiraling out of reach. Paracha said the association was postponing the strike call for Thursday (today) on assurance from the government that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani would meet APCNGA representatives.
Commuters’ plight: Commuters were trapped between the government and CNG suppliers with no CNG being supplied. “My university is almost out of town, I have to travel approximately 30 kms everyday… after the hike in petrol prices how can a student afford to travel by petrol?” Zain Mehmood Butt, a student of Lahore School of Economics, said. Rickshaw drivers, earning a daily wage, said the second day of CNG suspension meant they could not run their rickshaws at all.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Saleem Khan, a rickshaw driver, said, “Rickshaw drivers are suffering most due to the two CNG holidays. How do we make ends meet?” Husain Malik, a young advocate, traveling from DHA phase 3 to the high court said, “I am forced to buy petrol with its price touching the sky. This is unfair and unjust.”