J&K Transporters Defer Strike By A Day

Public transport vehicle ply on Srinagar streets | KO file photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar: All Jammu and Kashmir Transporters Welfare Committee – an amalgam of various transport associations— on Tuesday deferred by a day its indefinite strike which was scheduled to begin from Wednesday.

General Secretary, Kashmir Welfare Transporters Association, Sheikh Muhammad Yusuf said that a meeting is scheduled on February 24 afternoon with Finance Commissioner, Finance Department, who is chairman of Fare and Freight Committee also comprising Transport commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu division.

“Our representatives held a meeting with officials in Jammu and in principle they accepted our demands as genuine,” he said. “In wake of the development we have decided to defer by one day our strike and if nothing concrete comes up with a meeting (with the Financial Commissioner), then our indefinite strike shall begin from February 25.”

The association has demanded revision of the transport fares amidst the skyrocketing of the petroleum prices during the past few years. “In such a situation, transporters have no other option than to go for an indefinite strike to press for fare revision,” Sheikh said.

The Association also demands roll back of tax for the lockdown months.

All type of commercial vehicles including buses, trucks, tankers, mini-buses, Sumos/ Taxis/ Tempo-Travelers, Auto-rickshaws etc. shall remain off the road from Lakhanpur (Punjab border) to Uri in Kashmir if the indefinite strike takes effect, they said. “Government will be responsible for inconvenience to the general public,” the association has maintained.

The association said to have submitted the cost of operation in the office of Transport Commissioner for revision in passenger fare because the rate of petroleum products has been increasing day-by-day. “Passenger fare was revised in April 2018, then the rate of diesel was Rs 65 a litre but now the rate of Diesel is more than Rs (84), which is not bearable for transporters in J&K,” the JKTWA had said in a statement.

Govt For Viable Resolution Of Genuine Demands

Earlier Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary assured the transporters that the government is for the earliest and a viable resolution of their genuine demands and urged them to call off their strike.

Speaking in a special meeting he convened with them the DC assured the heads of different associations associated with the transport sector that their genuine demands would be taken up with higher authorities and a viable resolution be found within a stipulated time period.

The assurance followed extensive discussions on issues the transporters said face them and their set of demands.

Dr Shahid assured the transporters that the government wants a just and favorable-to-all resolution of the issue and motivated them to call off their strike.

There was agreement that the strike would lead to huge inconvenience for one and all and that it must be avoided.

Some of the demands the transporters raised and sought fulfillment for during the meeting include among others announcement of a transport policy which gives the transport sector the status of the transport industry, hike in the fare structure, waiving off of token and passenger taxes from August 2019, review of condemnation age of vehicles, a fresh survey in compliance with the J&K High Court directions for identification of feasible locations for auto/sumo/mini-bus stops/stands, and taking transporters into confidence while fixing fee for toll plaza and parking places.

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