OGRA demands action against illegally hoarding

DM Monitoring

ISLAMABAD: As reports emerged of shortages at petrol pumps in several cities of Punjab, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) wrote a letter to the provincial chief secretary asking him to take action against those illegally hoarding petrol and diesel stocks.
In a letter, Ogra’s Senior Executive Director – Enforcement Sohail Ahmed Tariq wrote that the authority had identified, through market intelligence, locations in Punjab that “might be in use to dump/store [petroleum] products for inventory gains”.
These 19 locations were contributing to the existing shortage of petroleum products in different cities of Punjab, thereby committing illegal acts, he added.
The letter asked the Punjab chief secretary to take immediate action against the culprits to prevent inconvenience for the public.
A number of petrol pumps in several major and small cities of Punjab have been facing a severe shortage of petrol. The situation is particularly troubling in some major cities, including Lahore, Gujranwala and Faisalabad, where several petrol pumps have either no or meager supply of petrol for the last many days allegedly due to squeezed supply from oil marketing companies (OMCs).
“In Lahore, around 70 of the total 450 pumps are dry. The areas where the pumps are closed due to shortage of petrol include Shahdra, Wagah, Litton Road and Jain Mandar,” Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association’s secretary information Khawaja Atif told.
Talking about other cities, he said in Gujranwala around 70 per cent stations had no petrol due to short supplies from the OMCs. Moreover, many pumps are also without petrol for several days in Faisal¬abad, Okara, Sahiwal and other districts.
Traders and industry sources had warned last month that Pakistan could face a crunch in fuel supplies in February as banks have stopped financing and facilitating payments for imports due to depleting foreign exchange reserves.