City traders face no-entry heat

Greater Kashmir

Truckers Refuse To Deliver Goods At Shops, Warehouses Within City Limits; ‘Cops exploiting the situation’

Srinagar, Nov 20: Traders in the Srinagar city are presently a worried lot, as truckers refuse to deliver their consignments at their shops, warehouses in the city due to restrictions on the movement of trucks during day time within city limits. Traders blame the traffic cops and men in Khaki for exploiting the truck drivers on the pretext of ‘No Entry’.
To avoid traffic congestion in the city the high court had banned the entry of trucks into the city limits of Jammu and Srinagar during the daytime. However, truckers approached the Supreme Court and filed a special leave petition challenging the order of the high court. While upholding the decision of the high court the Supreme Court had however given relaxation to the truckers allowing them to carry essential commodities within city limits from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
“We have been repeatedly informing the traffic cops and the men in Khaki about the Supreme Court order but they don’t listen to us,” said Ghulam Ahmed Shah, a wholesaler at Karan Nagar here.
“Prior to the high court order the truckers would deliver the goods at our shops but now they refuse to do so. We have to hire another vehicle for carrying the goods from outskirts to our shops,” Ahmad said.
Truck drivers allege that they have to grease the palms of men in blue and khaki to enter into the city. “Unless we keep something on their palms, the policemen don’t permit us to enter into the city limits,” said Farooq Ahmed a truck driver.
“Now we drop the goods outside the city limits and ask the party to take the consignment of their own. Our margin is not that high and we cannot afford to pay regularly to the police for entering into the city limits,” Farooq added.
Syed Tawqeer Ahmed Special Mobile Magistrate for Kashmir said, “The list of essential commodities has already been circulated among the traffic cops.”
According to Tawqeer essential commodities do not only include pulses, rice wheat or medicines, there are 46 items including iron and cement, which come in the list of essentials as per section-2 of essential commodities act 1955.
“I had obtained a xerox copy of the list of essential commodities duly attested by the mobile magistrate and I produced it before the cops near bye-pass few days ago when I had a truckload of electrical appliances,” said Hemant Kumar a truck driver from Jammu. He said even as the commodities in his truck were figuring in the list, on showing the list to the cops they tore that into pieces and told him if he had to enter the city he would have to pay the entry fees or wait till the evening.
Abdul Hameed Bhat SSP Traffic denied that the traffic cops posted at nakas demand any graft from the drivers and termed the allegations as baseless. “Cops from our department know it very well that the trucks carrying essential commodities have to be allowed to enter into the city from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. They just check the documents and see what trucks are carrying. They just do their duty,” he said.
Bhat said the truck drivers should approach him directly if they face any harassment. “My request to the complainants is to approach me. I assure them if any cop is found guilty of harassing the drivers, he would be punished sternly.”