Buses on Kathua, Samba route remain off road; transporters, others protest

Transporters protesting at Ware House in Jammu on Monday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Transporters protesting at Ware House in Jammu on Monday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Harsh terms Toll Plaza at Sarore as ‘Kesri Jazia’

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Oct 14: Showing their strong resentment against the installation of Toll Plaza on Jammu-Pathankot National Highway at Sarore by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and demanding immediate revocation of the decision, the buses and mini buses plying from Jammu to Kathua, Samba and other routes of twin districts remained off the roads today.
The transporters also held a demonstration at Ware House Jammu and Sarore, Bari Brahmana protesting against the anti people decision of the NHAI as well as Union Government. They said that the State of J&K which has already suffered a lot economically during last three decades of turmoil is reeling under severe economic crisis with transporters and business community its main victims. With the decision of slapping Toll Tax on the transporters they will be hit further, they added.
The students, Government employees and other people faced tough time in reaching their offices, colleges, schools and other destinations in the twin districts due to transporters strike. After waiting for a long time many of them returned to their home while some were given lift by private transporters and tractor trolleys etc.
President Kathua Route Bus Union, Kamaldeep Singh while talking to Excelsior justified the action of transporters to stay off the roads. He said the strike will continue till the decision is revoked. He demanded that there should be no toll for local buses, matadors and other transporters. He alleged that though the buses and mini buses went off the roads from today no body in Government showed curtsey to talk to them. This highhandedness on the part of authorities will not be tolerated, he added.
He said over 250 buses plying on Jammu, Kathua, Samba routes remained off the roads today and they will continue strike tomorrow also. The transporters and operators of buses at Veer House shouted slogans against the decision and grounded their buses in Ware House Jammu as a mark of protest.
Singh also accused the authorities for harassment of the drivers by the contractors and their goons on Toll Plaza Sarore under the nose of the police deployed there. He said it appears that a jungle Raj prevails in the State and it has been made an affair of free for all at Toll Plaza Sarore. This gundaism will also not be tolerated by the transporters, he added.
Meanwhile, protests by some political parties continued today to renew their demand regarding abolition of Toll Plaza at Sarore.
Panthers’ party activists led by former Minister and its chairman Harsh Dev Singh, its State president Balwant Singh Mankotia and State president, Young Panthers Yashpal Kundal held a demonstration at Exhibition Ground here, today demanding abolition of Toll Plaza at Sarore immediately.
While raising slogans against the BJP and the NHAI, the protesters accused the BJP led Government in Delhi for imposing the taxes on the people which has subjected them to further loot and plunder in view of ongoing inflation and economic crisis.
Lambasting the BJP for its persistent acts of duplicity and deceit, Harsh Dev Singh recalled that it was Saffron party which in opposition vociferously opposed the installation of the Toll Plaza and vandalized the structure at the present site near Sarore on the pretext of `Jazia’ levied upon the people of Jammu. “Is this new form of `Kesri Jazia’ imposed on the people by BJP after forming the Government at Centre,, he asked? Is this the reason that people have overwhelmingly mandated you for trampling their aspirations? Did you feel ashamed while supporting, facilitating and inaugurating the Toll Plaza with an intention to put financial burden on gullible people”, ? Harsh Dev said while taking a jibe at BJP. He also demanded immediate abolition of Toll Plaza.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has also termed the installation of Toll Plaza at Sarore as unwarranted, unlawful and anti people decision. It demanded rollback as the levy seems the handiwork of some middle rung officers at their own level without consulting the Government.
Addressing a meeting today T S Bajwa, ex MP and senior PDP leader expressed his concern over the Toll Tax being charged. He said already at Ban Toll Plaza on Jammu-Udhampur National Highway Government earns crores of rupees as more than one crore yatris visit holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi besides local commuters visiting Katra, Udhampur, Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar and Kashmir Valley.
He said during NC-Congress Government the BJP has broken the Toll Plaza and made a lot of hue and cry over the decision. He demanded immediate roll back of Toll Plaza Sarore and other toll Plazas in the State.
Sainik Samaj Party (SSP) has also condemned the installation of Toll Plaza at Sarore . Colonel (retd) S S Pathania, State president of the party while condemning the installation of Toll plaza at Sarore termed it as a step towards retro -gradation. He said the party is fully committed towards thee welfare of veterans and their families and levying of such hefty taxes are going to be adversely affect their economy and obligation towards their young generation. He also demanded immediate revocation of the decision in this regard.