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Oil tankers on strike for being denied passage through Kohat tunnel

Oil tankers on strike for being denied passage through Kohat tunnel

KOHAT: The oil tankers association started a wheel-jam strike against the ban on their passage through the Kohat Friendship tunnel here on Monday.

They parked their vehicles on the Indus Highway near the tunnel to register their protest.

President of oil tankers association, Haji Shafique, told Dawn after a meeting with deputy commissioner Ilyas Khalid that they had been forced to use the 11-kilometre hilly track between Kohat and Darra Adamkhel which was perilous and caused regular accidents.

He said as the contract of oil transportation had been given to National Logistic Cell the monthly bribe to NHA had stopped thus, leading to the ban on oil tankers.

He challenged the ban by saying that there was no ban on the oil tankers’ passage through 25-kilometre Lowari tunnel and Khunjrab Pass.

He argued that the passenger vans with two to three gas kits fitted to them were allowed to pass through the tunnel despite being potential bombs, and vehicles with explosives and weapons also got through.

“We follow the strict SOPs of oil container gauge, but even then we are not allowed through,” he lamented.

When contacted, operation manager of the tunnel, Jamshed Ahmed, said there had been ban on the oil tankers’ passage through the tunnel since its opening in 2003.

He said the ban was briefly lifted during last two months, but was again slapped.

He pointed out that on the oil tankers quantity was written 25,000 to 45,000 litres but in fact it was more than that, and the drivers also refused to park them on the weight machine or pay fines.

He argued that in case of gas kit explosion it was easy to extinguish the fire but if a tanker with 25,000 litres of oil caught fire it could engulf the whole tunnel and required hours to douse the flame.

SAFARI PARKS: The fun-starved people of Kohat having three safari parks with rare animals and birds have demanded reconstruction of broken roads and plying of a safari vehicle for enjoying the wild beauty.

The lions in the Togh Mangara Safari Park near the Kohat Friendship tunnel also could not survive due to improper treatment and feed.

The park spreads over 3,000 acres of land and is housing Dela Sumrial, 35 urial and 48 deer. But, the road leading to it is in bad shape.

The Kotal Park, located at the foothills near the Kohat city, is spread over 150 acres of land and houses Maflan sheep, a type of urial, hog deer and a blue bull.

The bull was shifted from Tanda Park due to sickness. The interesting thing about the bull is that it is the most shy animal, but also dangerous.

But as it was brought here young the animal has developed intimacy with the humans who feed him grass in their hands.

There are also peacocks and ring-necked silver and white-coloured pheasants in the park.

In the 2,800 acres Tanda Park, there are 27 blue bulls, kept for breeding purposes.

According to wildlife officer Shabbir Ahmed as a rule the animals are released into their natural habitat if their number crosses the limit in parks.

He said all animals were given special feed and regularly vaccinated to protect them from diseases.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2017

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