Threat by transport mafia

THERE are no two opinions that oil prices are going up for the last two/three months due to upward trend in the international market. With the latest increase in November, the per litre prices are HOBC Rs 72.68; Premium Rs 72.8; HSD Rs 81.4 and Light Speed Diesel/Kerosene Rs 44/-
The existing transport fares in Punjab as well as Islamabad were enforced in April 2016 when minimum fare was fixed at Rs 11 and the maximum Rs 26. At that time, the prices of petroleum products were petrol Rs 77.62 a litre and HSD Rs 65.12 a litre. Comparison of prices and fares then and now would reveal that petrol prices at the time of last revision of fares were at a higher level than the existing one and those of diesel were slightly above the existing level. Therefore, there was hardly any justification for the threat hurled by United Transport on Sunday to jack up fare by Rs 3 per stop. In fact, earlier too, the prices of POL products came much lower but transporters threatened government not to reduce fares further as these were also linked with other factors. We have been pointing out in these columns that transporters in Punjab have been acting like mafia, manipulating fares in their favour either through coercive tactics or palm-greasing of officials concerned and the burden always fell on the poor commuters. There is already a wave of inflation caused by increase in import duty on a number of items and mismanagement. Any undue increase would put further pressure on the common man as increase in fare impacts upon every thing and almost all services. We would, therefore, urge Punjab government not to pay heed to the fleecing demand of transporters and keep interests of the people uppermost in the face of pressure tactics by mafias.

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