Normal life in south Kashmir areas was thrown out of gear on Tuesday in view of a shutdown called by the transporters’ union against the imposition of toll tax.
The protesting transporters are seeking exemption of toll tax for Kashmir vehicles at Kai-Chachkoot toll plaza near Awantipora.
The public transport including buses, mini-busses, and cabs remained off the roads in the twin districts of Anantnag and Kulgam.
No transport plied along the national highway from Lower Munda- Qazigund to the toll plaza either, which caused hardships for the local people.
“I had to reach my office in Srinagar but since public transport was not available I had to walk several kilometers by foot to board the train at Anantnag railway station,” said Saadat Ahmad, a government employee.
One of the patients from Dialgam who had to go for a medical checkup at SKIMS had to return as he could not find any transport.
Most of the commuters traveling from far off places who use public transport to reach their offices in Anantnag and Kulgam towns, also could not attend their duties.
Very thin attendance was witnessed in schools and government offices in both the districts while the routine business was also affected.
Sumo and Tempo Travelers association, Mini Bus Association and other transport associations in a meeting on Sunday had called for a one-day token strike against the levying of toll on local people by the National Highway Authority of India.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has assured that the locals will be exempted from the tax. In a statement on May 9, Governor said that the administration has already taken up the matter with the central government but due to the ongoing election process the order of tax revocation had been delayed.
The transporters, however, have threatened an indefinite strike if they are not exempted from toll immediately.
“In view of the Holy month of Ramzan we only called for one day strike to avoid inconvenience to people. But if the government fails to do away with the tax on locals, we will be left with no option but to go on an indefinite strike,” President South Kashmir Sumo Union said.