SRINAGAR People on Tuesday protested against authorities for imposing toll tax near Sangam on Srinagar-Jammu highway in south Kashmir.
A number of people said that the toll plaza was made operational from today and every vehicle passing through it was charged toll of Rupees 85 for every light motor vehicle.
“This is outrages how can government impose such a harsh order against people of Kashmir asking us to pay Rupees 170 per day from moving to and fro on the highway,” said a person, showing a receipt of Rs 85 collecting as toll by National Highways Authority Of India.
Another person from Ganderbal said that he was shocked when asked to pay Rs 85 before being allowed to move on the thoroughfare.
“We don’t earn as much as what is being charged. Having already banned civilian traffic on highway by virtue of order on April 3, it seems that the authorities by imposing such harsh tax, the government has decided to completely shut the highway for the civilians throughout the week,” he said, adding someone told me that it is not applicable for people living within the radius of 20 kilometers from the Toll Plaza.
“I fall beyond the limits, meaning thereby that I have to pay Rs 170 every day I move beyond Sangam and on return back,” he said.
As the toll was started to be collected from today most of the people protested against it and refused to pay, leading to the traffic jam on the highway around the toll plaza, reports and eyewitness told GNS.
When contacted Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan said that the issue was taken by him with authorities in New Delhi, and from now onwards people living within 20 kilometers radius of toll plaza will not have to pay anything.
“A formal notification in this regard will be issued soon,” the Divisional Commissioner said.
“We are sending them list of villages falling within 20 kilometers so that they are not charged anything. Only they will have to pay Rs 200 for a card which will be available there, he added.
Trader’s body, Sumo Union Threatens Stir
Traders Association and Sumo Union Anantnag threatened to launch an agitation if imposition of toll tax was not revoked forthwith.
Describing it as anti-people, Hakkem Sajad Shah General Secretary All traders and manufacturers Association Anantnag said that the toll tax shall be collected from only outsiders and not from people of expressed serious concern about the harsh tax rate of Toll plaza on public transportation and demands an exemption for the local population of Kashmir people.
He said that such a harsh move will have a tremendous impact on trade and commerce and as such shall be done away with immediately.
“If such anti-people and harsh order is not revoked forthwith we will have no other option but to launch an agitation and all responsibility shall lie on the government in that eventuality,” Hakeem said.
He said that toll shall be only collected from outsiders.
Shabir Ahmad, General Secretary Hamdaniya Sumo Stand Union Janglatmandi, Anantnag told GNS that such a move is anti-people and would prove a burden on poor people if continued.
“We are already facing tremendous hardships for various accounts. We have to pay loans and other expenses this is simply adding more burden on us which we may not cope with,” Shabir said.
He urged the government to revoke the order forthwith.
“If continued we will be left with no option but to increase the fare which will add to miseries of people particularly poor strata of the society. The order is nothing but anti-people and no government should resort to such anti-people measures,” he added.
The sumo union also threatened agitation if the government fail to meet their demand without any delay.