OGRA unable to reach agreement with Oil Tankers Association

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Karachi: Negotiation between oil tanker owners and the government has failed as both parties failed to reach an agreement. Earlier on Tuesday, queues had formed at petrol pumps in Karachi as demand for fuel shot up following the oil tanker association strike.

News report of petrol shortage by a TV station worsened the situation as people started buying extra fuel to top up in case the strike goes for long.

The All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association (APOTA) has announced a strike against strict action by Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) authorities and Motorway Police.

Yesterday, APOTA Chairperson Yousaf Shahwani along with other members met Ministry Petroleum and Natural Resources secretary but could not reach an agreement.

“We will not end our strike until the government accepts our demands,” said Yousaf Shahwani while talking to Pakistan Today.

The authorities have come hard on oil tanker operators regarding safety measurements after Bahawalpur’s Ahmedpur Sharqia oil tanker incident.

Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has started forcing implementation of its 2009 regulations while National Highway Authorities (NHA) is checking all vehicles strictly according to its regulation passed in 2000.

APOTA declared rules of both institutions too hard saying “our vehicles are not water tankers; these are fuel carriages which we already keep according to companies safety rules which we work for.”

Shahwani said that they cannot run their tankers according to new rules as acting on these rule will not leave the business viable.

He said that the owner of a vehicle has to pay the instalments of Rs 18,000 on different points from Karachi to Islamabad, and to increase that to Rs 35,000 for 4000 fuel vehicles is kind of impossible.

All Pakistan Contract Carriage Association General Secretary Nouman Ali Khan said that the authorities are putting demands like employing two drivers on one vehicle and to reduce load from 13 to 8 tonnes per axle which are not viable for them.

WILL RESOLVE PROBLEMS AMICABLY, SAYS OGRA SPOKESMAN:

After the meeting with a representative of the tankers association, OGRA Spokesman Imran Ghaznavi said that the “authority is ready to revisit its 2009 Rules and resolve problems of the association by holding a meeting with Oil Marketing Companies at the earliest”.

He maintained that the association did not complain about the regulations of 2009 when they were first introduced but were now making hue and cry on their implementation which isn’t justified and is regrettable. He added that the fitness of oil lorries is not inspected by OGRA.

Ghaznavi hoped that the association would comply with all the safety rules without putting public property and lives at risk.