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Transport off roads, life out of gear
JAMMU, Nov 19: Normal life in the state of Jammu & Kashmir was thrown out of gear with most of the commercial vehicles going off the road from Lakhanpur to Leh due to one-day strike called by All Jammu and Kashmir Transporters Welfare Association.

With no official word from the state government, AJKTWA today granted one week’s time and warned to go on indefinite strike if passenger fare and freight charges are not raised upto 30 percent in view of recent hike in diesel.

More than one lakh commercial vehicles, including trucks, buses, mini buses, taxis, load carriers and local transport remained off the road in the state during one-day strike today. This hit badly the routine life of the people in the state with majority of office and school goers covering their distance on foot. The worst sufferers were Vaishno Devi pilgrims and tourists coming or returning from different parts of the country. They were seen walking on foot from Jammu Railway Station towards their destinations. Attendance in offices and educational institutions was also affected as most of the offices recorded a thin attendance.

The strike also hit the supply of essential commodities in the state as people find hard to get milk and fuel supplies. The sick people besides the attendants of those hospitalised in different parts of the state find hard to reach their destinations. Students were seen standing on different stands in the morning and waiting for their conveyance. Some of them returned as the private vehicles engaged by schools failed to turn up while some managed to reach schools and even some were sent back by the school authorities keeping in view of thin presence in the institutions.

Besides minibuses, the inter-district and inter-state transport passenger vehicles also remained off the roads thereby causing great inconvenience to people. Many people were seen moving towards their destinations on foot. Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) vehicles were, however, pressed into service by the authorities but these prove to be ineffective in view of huge rush of people and thin presence of routes. Only private vehicles including two-wheelers and cars were seen plying on the road.

In Jammu district, the city and adjoining areas were worst affected by the strike. Even the hospitals in Jammu city witnessed lesser number OPD patients as compared to the normal days. Both the railway station and general bus stand at Jammu were flooded with the stranded passengers. Ordinary citizens had to face a tough time in going to hospitals, offices and schools. Passengers from other districts as well as Vaishno Devi pilgrims also faced the brunt.

Reports from various districts of Jammu region said that traffic was off the roads affecting normal life and people faced problems in reaching their work places. There was complete chaos outside the Jammu Railway station and General Bus Stand as commuters, including pilgrims going to the Vaishno Devi, had problems reaching their destinations. Even most of the schools and offices witnessed thin attendances due to the strike.

Talking to Kashmir Times, the people were off the view that government always takes action when the level of suffering reaches its top. While justifying the demands of the operators, they said that the demand should have been met even without the strike.

To settle their demands All Jammu and Kashmir Transport Welfare Association (AJKTWA) today granted one week’s time to state government and further warned to continue their indefinite strike if the government fails to raise passenger fares and freight charges upto 30 percent.

“Due to adamant attitude of the state government, the people of entire state faced many difficulties and were forced to travel on foot as there was no availability of any transport facility,” informed senior vice president, AJKTWA, Anil Chopra adding, “In this context, the stalemate between two sides persist on the percentage of passenger fare as the transporters were insisting for hike by 30 percent while the government failed to reach any conclusion.”

“Therefore, the core committee of the Association has decided in the meeting that if government fails to settle our demand within a week, after dead line, the transporters will continue their indefinite strike across the state,” he maintained.

Replying to a query, he said, “No version came from government side in this context but as per sources some meetings have been held in the concerned department to mitigate the demands of transporters in this regarding.”

Rued for not taken decision over increase in passenger fare by the Standing Committee constituted by the government since October 9, the leaders asserted that during the meeting with members of Standing Committee about passenger fare at Srinagar on October 9, they promised that SRO about increase in passenger fare would be issued after the clearance of proposal in this regard in the next scheduled cabinet meeting. The delay in conceding their demand was creating resentment among the transporters.”

Earlier, the decision in this respect was taken during a meeting of Association under the chairmanship of its senior vice president Anil Chopra and general secretary Vijay Kumar Sharma at General Bus stand. The standing committee had also submitted its recommendations to the government after getting inputs about cost of operation from the transporters.
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News Updated at : Monday, November 19, 2012
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