Subsidised fuel cards for bikers, rickshaw owners likely next week

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ISLAMABAD – In order to avoid political backlash in the urban areas due to the unprecedented increase in POL prices, the government is swiftly working on launching a subsidised fuel card scheme for the benefit of bikers and rickshaw owners in next few days. An official source at the Ministry of Finance said the prime minister had directed immediate finalisation of the fuel card scheme, which was conceived in December last year after the unprecedented increase in POL prices in the international markets. He said the ministries of Petroleum and Finance were working on the proposal, but the general agreement, so far, is on providing a fuel subsidy of between Rs 500 to 1,000 to bikers and between Rs 1,000 to 2,000 to rickshaw owners.
But the most difficult task was ensuring transparency in the implementation of the scheme so that its misuse could be avoided. The government wants to unveil the scheme next week to avoid any altercation with its allies. The delay in the launch of the scheme would push the MQM to up its ante in the urban areas of Sindh which the government wants to avoid at all costs, a source said, adding that the MQM gave a tacit approval for the hike in fuel prices after they were briefed on the proposal.