ISLAMABAD, Feb 9 (APP): Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik on Thursday said the government teams last night inspected more than 900 sites in two districts of Punjab, sealed seven petrol pumps, imposed fine amounting to Rs 785,000 and registered 21 first information reports (FIRs) over fuel hoarding.
“The teams inspected 530 different sites in Sargodha District and 437 in Faisalabad. In one district fine amounting to Rs 230,000 was imposed besides sealing six petrol pumps, while in other district, a fine of Rs 553,000 was imposed after sealing a petrol pump. Almost 21 FIRs have also been registered,” the minister said in a news conference.
He said these outlets were not providing fuel despite sufficient stocks in their storage tanks.
He said the inspection teams were busy in visiting different sites across the country, during which they so far had shut down illegal storages operating in various areas including Shorkot, surrounding of Darbar Sultan Bahu, Machike Sheikhupura and eight warehouses in Vehari.
“The inspection will continue unabated as per the warning given to the elements involved in hoarding the other day to shun the illegal practice, which is creating problems for the general public,” he said.
The minister assured that the inspection teams would not create any inconvenience for those who believed in fair play and followed rules & regulations in letter and spirit.
He reiterated a firm resolve of the government that it would not allow anyone to cause ‘dry-out’ at petrol pumps by creating an artificial shortage of petrol and diesel, as the country had sufficient stocks to meet petrol needs for 20 days and diesel 29 days.
Musadik Malik said he had a conversation with the head of Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association who assured the government that the body would not defend the hoarders and black sheep in its rank, if any.
He reiterated that only a few elements were involved in the hoarding to make a quick buck, adding the law would take its course while dealing with them without any leniency.
The minister said he also held meetings with representatives of different Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) with the directives to ensure a smooth supply of fuel from their depots to petrol pumps without any delay.
He said a warning had been issued to those OMCs, dealers, transporters and depot owners, who were involved in hoarding or creating an artificial shortage, to immediately stop this illegal practice or get ready for the dire consequences.
Answering a question, Musadik Malik said the government had asked the regulator [Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority] to conduct an audit of the Oil Marketing Companies [regarding their storage capacity and maintaining the required reserves of petrol and diesel] and submit a report accordingly for further necessary action.