Sunday, March 28, 2010


The commuters of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad wished they had been living in either NWFP or Sindh province where stop-to-stop fare is Rs8 and maximum fare is Rs15 for the last distance.

After braving police baton-charge, shelling, teargas and bullets we are still paying Rs12 stop-to-stop and Rs25 for the last distance, say the commuters adding people including innocent students badly injured and faced police torture after registering FIR under Section 7 ATA. They have strongly rejected the decrease of Re1 in fare and demanded of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary for taking action against high and unjust transport fares on local routes.

All authorities are aware of the reality that around 80 per cent public transport is plying on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), but they are charging fares on diesel rates.

In last meeting with transporters Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Capt (r) Zahid Saeed admitted that fare ratio in Punjab as compared to NWFP and Sindh is far higher. He also admitted that around 80 per cent public service transport was operating on CNG. He also mentioned that in NWFP stop-to-stop fare is Rs8 and Rs15 for last distance and in Sindh stop-to-stop fare is Rs10 and Rs20 for the last distance.

District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA) Secretary Syed Asad Raza Kazmi also admitted in meeting that around 80 per cent public service transport is plying on CNG. He recorded his statement before Commissioner and MPs that majority of public transport was on CNG and public complaint him against the higher fares.

MNA Muhammad Hanif Abbasi and MNA Shakil Awan also admitted the fact that local transporters are charging high fares as compared to other provinces. They had admitted that around 80 per cent public service transport was plying on CNG but charging fare on diesel rates. They had insisted that remaining 20 per cent transporters should fix CNG kits in their vehicles.

On February 9 last, Punjab Transport Authority (PTA) chairman had issued notification of raising public service transport stop-to-stop fare to Rs13 against Rs10 and Rs27 against Rs20 for the last distance. The public had rejected the notification of PTA and demanded withdrawal of the increased fare. The poor commuters finally came on roads for protest demonstrations against the government decision. Police also used its might injuring several protestors. Police registered cases against 46 protestors and imposed Section 7 ATA according to terrorism act in which majority of protestors were students.

The government had seen the whole drama with closed eyes. A week back local administration with the consultation of transporters cut down Rs1 from increased fares. They also cut down Rs2 on some stops and Rs3 as well. But public was not satisfied on the decrease demanding Rs10 stop-to-stop and Rs20 fare for the last distance. 

Muhammad Hasan, a student, told ‘The News’ that government has stopped the opportunity of getting education because parents could not afford high transport fares. How they could get education by paying unaffordable transport fares. Old fares Rs10 stop-to-stop and Rs20 for last distance were already unaffordable, he said.

He said that the student community pins hope on Chief Justice of Pakistan to come to their rescue as the government after getting the votes from the public has nothing to do with their problems at least for the five years.

Noureen Bashir, a workingwoman said that peoples of other countries are provided relief while in Pakistan government sucks the last drop of blood of the majority poor in form of high transport fares. How a poor man could afford Rs60-70 per day for transport fares. The Supreme Court is the only institution that could deliver to the poor masses, therefore the apex court should act now. 

A number of students of different institutions were of the view that the Chief Justice of Pakistan should direct the government to fix transport fares as per consumption of CNG and not the diesel, which is hardly used by the transporters. They said it is a big treachery with the public by the representative of the people sitting in the parliament.

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