Transport bodies operating from Kashmir and Jammu divisions have called for a one-day strike on Wednesday, June 12 against levy of toll tax on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.
Transporters said the strike would be also observed againstrecent government order asking them to install hi-tech systems such as vehiclelocation tracking devices and panic buttons in their vehicles.
Sheikh Muhammd Yusuf, general secretary, KashmirTransporters Welfare Association told Greater Kashmir that long pending demandsalso include speedy renewals and document verification with transportdepartment.
Transporters operating buses, min-buses, Tata Sumos, autorickshaws and all other commercial vehicles in the state are participating inthe strike, Yusuf said.
"Exorbitant one way toll charges of Rs 285 for aninter-district bus on national highway is proving to be a burden. Transportsector has been suffering huge losses in the Valley and now administrationwants us to install hi-tech gadgets in our vehicles which cost almost Rs 20,000is a burden on us," said Yusuf adding transport department order askingtransporters to be equipped with hi-tech gadgets is "illogical" as many ofthese are old vehicles and will be soon phased-out.
TS Wazir, chairman, Transporters Welfare Association Jammualso confirmed that transporters of Jammu division will be observing theone-day strike on Wednesday.
"We have genuine demands for which the strike is beingobserved. First we will observe chakka jam on Wednesday and if the demands arenot fulfilled then we will go for indefinite strike," Wazir said.
As per transporters, operational glitches in the onlinesystem at Regional Transport Office are proving to be time consuming forvarious official works.
"With the online system there are lot of problems in permitrenewal, renewal of all documents of commercial vehicles. Lack of staff intransport department is also proving to be a hurdle for smooth functioning oftransport sector in the state," said the transporter Sheikh Yusuf. .
Local transporters say Kashmir-based vehicles areunnecessarily stopped by traffic authorities at Leh and are not even allowed todo local sightseeing there. "Another long pending demand of transporters hasbeen that transporters who suffered losses in 2014 floods will be compensatedbut that has not been fulfilled so far," said Yusuf.
He said transporters were also upset with the inability ofthe traffic authorities to control the operations of "illegal and unregisteredTata Sumos" from erstwhile Batamaloo bus stand that causes traffic congestionin commercial hub of Srinagar.
The protesting transporters have also been complaining thathigh frequency of railways has caused them huge losses and have been demandingthat train trips between Baramulla to Banihal be reduced. "Keeping in view theinterest of transporters, train trips between Jammu – Katra has been reducedwhile as we have 8 train trips between Baramulla – Banihal daily which must becurtailed to allow transporters earn their livelihood properly," demanded astatement issued by Kashmir Transporters Welfare Association.