Punjab police are forced to limit their operations due to the shortage of fuel following a major cut in the budget for Petrol, Oil, and Lubricants (POL) by the caretaker government. Additionally, an extra month’s extension in the fiscal year’s quarter has also contributed to the fuel crisis.
According to a national daily, 800 vehicles of police in Lahore, which include 400 dolphin bikes and over 100 cars of the Police Response Units (PRU), meant for essential surveillance have limited their operations.
The situation has led to a spike in crime rate as the dolphin force and the PRU can’t respond to calls for help due to the fuel shortage. They can only respond to emergency situations.
The media outlet added, citing reliable sources, that the police have been facing a fuel shortage for the last two months. However, the situation got worse when the provincial government released very little fuel for the department.
The available quantity is only enough for performing selective duties, including those related to the protocol of the VIPs and VVIPs. The report has made a shocking claim about numerous station house officers (SHOs) and the heads of the investigation wings.
According to the report, these officials are relying on private parties, including some ‘infamous people’, for fuel in areas under their control who then demand undue favors.
A source told the media outlet that the caretaker government significantly reduced the POL budget, releasing only Rs. 178 million for the Nov-Feb quarter. It has forced the department to look for alternatives.
The police in major districts of Punjab were only provided Rs. 1 million to Rs. 2 million funds for their operational and law and order affairs, which had a serious impact on the police’s performance.
Lahore police only got Rs. 20 million compared to their total requirement of Rs. 110-112 million for the upcoming quarter. The source further told the media outlet that senior police officials and those providing security to VIPs and VVIPs get preference in the fuel supply.
IG Punjab Usman Anwar confirmed that his department is facing a fuel shortage, however, Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi has promised that the issue will be resolved.