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Islamabad

January 2, 2015

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No relief for public in sight despite reduction in POL prices

Rawalpindi
It has been rather unfortunate that despite a cut in POL products by almost 35 rupees during past four months by the federal government, its impact has not trickled down to the grassroots level, as the general public is still buying daily use commodities on higher rates. The public transporters only reduced the fares minimally thus depriving the common man of the benefits of the reduction in price of petroleum products as well.
Earlier, whenever the prices of petroleum products were increased, the traders and transporters increased their prices and fares without any delay, but now despite such a massive cut in POL products there is no sign of prices reduction in the same proportion.
Whereas the tall claims of DCO, Rawalpindi, Sajid Zafar have dashed to the ground who in December 2014, fixed rates of 1-liter milk by Rs70, ‘roti’ at Rs6 and ‘naan’ at Rs7. Mutton at Rs480 and beef Rs280, but still the shopkeepers are charging the same old rates.
“If we look at the market rate when the price of petroleum was Rs113 per litre four months ago the mutton was sold at around Rs600 to Rs650 per kg, beef at Rs Rs350-400, milk at Rs85-100 per litre and yoghurt at 90 per kilogram and other branded items like packed milk are continuously increasing their rates every month and there is no check on their prices. Prime Minister Nawz Sharif every time asks provincial governments to take steps to control prices at their end, but it seems provincial government are taking his orders lightly,” said a disgruntled housewife Saira.
At the moment it seems the people who have either cars of motorcycles are only getting benefit of the cut in petroleum products prices whereas general public who are poor and do not own a motorcycle or car are left high and dry, she added.
“The general public can only get benefit of the POL prices cut whenever there is reduction in prices of daily use commodities particularly kitchen items and

government should take solid steps in this regard,” said Adeel Ahmad,” a shopkeeper.
On the other hand after previous decrease in oil prices, majority of transporters no doubt are charging Rs13 stop-to-stop fare but not completing their proper routes while the Rawalpindi Transport Authority is apparently reluctant to stop this violation.
Situation in the capital on the other hand is not different, where transporters have refused to further reduce inter-city transport fares as they dubbed mere eyewash the claim of the government that reduction in oil prices would benefit the people.
The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has slashed the prices of petrol by Rs 6.25 and diesel by Rs7.86 per liter. A month back, government reduced petrol by Rs10, while the price of diesel was reduced by Rs 3. From October 30 to November 16, the government reduced the diesel and petrol prices by Rs 7 and Rs 15 respectively. However, passengers, who use public transport, have not yet received any relief, notwithstanding government's claim that the reduction was aimed at giving relief to the people.
According to data available with ‘The News’, more than 3,000 public transport vehicles ply on 10 different routes of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and thousands of residents of the twin cities use the facility to reach their destinations. However, discrepancies in transport fares despite cut in fuel prices were forcing passengers to pay high fares.
After the announcement of reduction in diesel prices, arguments between transporters and commuters were witnessed throughout the day, as commuters insisted for revised fares but transporters refused to reduce them.
Talking to ‘The News’ several passengers who commute between the capital and Rawalpindi in connection with their jobs said that the government had failed to stop public transporters from overcharging and that they were being charged high fares. They urged the Punjab government to take effective measures to provide relief to the people, as petroleum prices had decreased. Government should fix stop-to-stop fare at Rs10 against Rs13 as government has decreased Rs35 in four months, public demanded.
"Whenever there is an increase of even single rupee in petrol or diesel prices, transporters increase fares manifold immediately, which is disproportionate to actual increase in diesel prices.
Now when the petrol and diesel prices have come down, they are refusing to bring down fares," Riaz Ahmed, a passenger said. He said that he spent up to Rs1,500 to Rs2,000 on transport fares and that his total salary was around Rs16,000.
Ironically, Mutthidda Transport Welfare Association President Malik Mehboob while talking to this scribe came up with a new excuse of not decreasing transport fares, saying there was no doubt government has reduced petrol and diesel rates, but the rates of engine oil and tyres was on persistent rise and they cannot provide further relief to commuters.
Shazia Bashir a working lady said that she strongly appreciates government announcement to reduce POL rates once again but general public was not getting its benefits. “We could get more and more benefits and relief but our local management not performing its duty with honesty that’s why we are facing the same old situation,” she added.

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