Lower Munda, Nov 9: With authorities failing to provide sufficient number of windows for collection of entry tax at Lower Munda, the checkpoint here has become a nuisance for truck drivers who face tremendous difficulties to deposit the fee.
Truck drivers complained that despite requesting the authorities to enhance the staff at the post and increase the number of windows for tax collection, "their pleas have fallen on deaf ears."
"We lose a lot of time here to deposit the fee. That also results in crowding of trucks and other vehicles here which causes huge traffic jams and even enhances the chances of accident," Abdul Jabbar, a truck driver said.
Chairman J&K chapter Travel Agents Association of India, Nasir Shah said, "The crowding of trucks at the checkpost hobbles the tourist traffic coming from outside to Kashmir. I personally tried a number of times to see the incharge of checkpost to inform him about the problem faced by travelers but he was never available at the post."
Drivers said earlier there were eight windows receiving the toll from the commercial vehicles. "But now there is only one window operational and we are facing tremendous problems," they said.
Some drivers alleged that the number of windows had been reduced to open avenues for corruption. "Some of the drivers bribe the officials in order to get their job done without losing any time," they alleged.
Some drivers said that there was enough staff at the check post but the number of windows had been reduced. "The authorities are rightly under the impression that they have posted enough staff to the checkpost but they don't know that there is only one window operating currently," said a driver.
This reporter saw a large number of drivers in a long queue in the evening waiting for their turn to deposit the tax. The angry drivers said it had been a daily routine with them. "The government is getting crores of rupees as tax from this check post, but it is shocking that the number of windows have been reduced," they said.
In front of this reporter a number of drivers accused a driver of intruding into the queue and pounced upon him which was followed by a scuffle. An angry truck driver said quarrels had become a routine affair at the check post.
When contacted excise commissioner, Abdual Hameed said: "We have deputed about 40 employees at Lower Munda. We have computerized the whole system there and I don't know what is the problem there."
Hameed said he would look into the issue and would pass on the information to deputy commissioner Kashmir division.
"I accept there is lots of congestion at the checkpost," he said.