Transporters demand fare hike, threaten agitation
Jammu, May 13: In what could be described as another jolt for the common man, the Jammu and Kashmir transporters have given one-week ultimatum to the government to increase the passenger fare by 50 per cent or face agitation across the state.
Sources said that despite hectic efforts being made by the officials to make unions defer their proposed protests, the transporters from Jammu as well as Srinagar have decided to suspend services, if their demands are not met.
The last hike in the passenger fare was in June 2010, when the Transport Department had enhanced the fare by 13 per cent with assurance that it would be revived in proportion to the increase in the fuel prices in future.
“We have already conveyed our decision to the administration by submitting a memorandum”, said Anil Chopra, president All Jammu & Kashmir Passenger Transport Association.
Blaming the administration of befooling the transporters, he said despite giving assurance last year that the fare would be revised as per the increase in the petroleum products, the government did nothing.
Transporters rue that due to increase in the prices of petroleum products and spare parts, they were finding it difficult to even manage monthly bank installment of their vehicles.
The demands being projected by the transporters include 50 percent hike in passenger fare, withdrawal of 10.5 per cent service tax on the insurance premium and 70 percent hike in 3rd party insurance.
“If our issues are continued to be ignored, we have no alternative but to suspend services of all the commercial vehicles and the responsibility of the inconveniences to the general public will lay on the administration”, said Vijay Kumar Sharma, another member of the union.
It is pertinent to mention here that another area of conflict between the transporters and government is the imposition of the 10 per cent service tax, which the unions claim is huge burden on them. “At a time when taxes have already broken our back, the service tax is total injustice with the people who earn their livelihood through playing vehicles”, said Surjeet Singh, another transporter.
Sources said that in next few days, transporters from Kashmir and Jammu are holding a meeting to chalk out the course of action for pressing their demands. “This time we will not allow vested interests to create division within our ranks. We all are united this time and will give tough fight”, said a senior member of the union.
Last year transporters were demanding 30 per cent rise in fares and had threatened to go on strike. After the intervention of Minister for Industries Surjit Singh Slathia and Minister for Medical Education R.S Chib, 13 per cent hike was approved in the commercial sector.
Sources said that Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) had increased the rate of insurance premium by 80 per cent which the unions claim have further compounded problems for them.
When contacted Minister for Transport Qamar Ali Akhoon said that decision has to be taken by the committee headed by the Financial Commissioner. “It is not individual decision, but the committee constituted by the government will have to see the entire pro and cons. At the moment we have no intention to give any rise”
Lastupdate on : Fri, 13 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 13 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 14 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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