Jammu transporters go on strike against Government order

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J&K Transporters Welfare Forum (TWF), Jammu Tuesday announced to go on strike against the government order allowing public transport to ply only at 50 percent of its authorised seating capacity.

Talking to media persons, President J&K Transporters Welfare Forum (TWF) T S Wazir said no passenger vehicle would ply on roads from Wednesday till the government announced 50 percent hike in passenger fare.

“It’s not feasible for transporters to ply buses or mini-buses (matadors) only at 50 percent of seating capacity. In the wake of spiraling diesel prices, it is not possible for any transporter to spend money out of his pocket to run a loss-making business. The government has taken a decision without taking us into confidence. We have come to know about it only through tweets,” Wazir said.

Earlier, the government had ordered that public transport including matadors, mini-buses and buses in J&K would be permitted to ply only at 50 percent of its authorised seating capacity.

“The District Superintendents of Police should ensure compliance to this effect,” the order read.

“With 50 percent passengers onboard, we won’t be able to even earn the money for filling fuel. We appeal the government to hike passenger fare by 50 percent. Otherwise we have no option but to keep public transport off the roads from Wednesday,” he said.

Wazir said that given the crisis posed by COVID-19 pandemic leading to steep fall in the number of passengers, the transporters were already contemplating approaching the government seeking a hike in passenger fare.

“While our deliberations were on, this order came as a bolt from the blue. The irony is that the transporters still have not come out of the impact of losses incurred on account of earlier lockdown. While our neighbouring state waived off taxes to be paid by the transporters for one year, here in J&K we did not get any such relaxation. We are bound to pay loan interests and other taxes including toll taxes, passenger taxes. In this scenario, it is not possible for us to ply vehicles as per this directive,” Wazir said.