Transporters strike cripples life in J&K

Transporters protesting in support of their demands in Jammu (left) and Srinagar (right) on Wednesday. —Excelsior pics by Rakesh & Shakeel
Transporters protesting in support of their demands in Jammu (left) and Srinagar (right) on Wednesday. —Excelsior pics by Rakesh & Shakeel

Passengers, pilgrims forced to walk in blazing Sun

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, June 12: With the ‘Chakka Jam’ strike of the transporters and vehicle operators from Lakhanpur to Leh -Ladakh today, the normal life was totally paralysed in the State while the Railways passengers and Mata Vaishnodevi, Katra pilgrims had to face tough time in view of missing public transport from the roads.
Not only buses, mini buses and trucks, the tempo travelers, Sumos/ Taxis, medium load carriers and even the auto-rikshaws also remained off the road adding to the woes of the general public. Since early morning, no commercial vehicle was found moving on the roads in Jammu city and other major towns of the region.
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In the winter capital city, public transport remained totally off the road. Massive rush of passengers was witnessed in the trains. Some Inter-State route buses, however, plied on the highway but due to fear of stone pelting, they suspended their operation to Jammu and Katra. The trucks/ load carriers coming from other states and moving outside, were seen halted at many places on the State highways.
Reports from various districts in Jammu province said that Jammu- Kathua, RS Pura, Akhnoor-Khour- Chhamb, Jammu-Banihal-Doda-Kishtwar, Jammu-Katra and Rajouri -Poonch route buses remained totally off the roads. More than 8000 Sumos/ Tempo Travellers operating on these routes also remained non-operational. Even on National Highway from Lakhanpur to Jammu- Srinagar and Leh, there was no movement of commercial vehicles.
Due to strike of taxis/ autorikshaws, hundred of passengers at Jammu Railway Station, Airport and at General Bus Stand and Narwal Inter-State Bus terminal, were forced to move on- foot carrying their luggage on head. Many women carrying their children were facing tough time while moving under intense hot conditions in blazing Sun during the day. There was no alternate arrangement of vehicles by the Government and moreover , SRTC buses were also hardly seen moving on the city roads. Only a few buses were deployed at Jammu Railway Station to ferry pilgrims to Mata Vaishnodevi, Katra and Srinagar.
Reports from Srinagar said that with the strike the life remained crippled in the summer capital of the State. Many tourists had to face tough time while general public badly suffered with the strike. The attendance in Govt offices and schools was also affected with the strike.
In view of strike, huge rush was witnessed in trains from Banihal to Srinagar and Baramulla Even the local public transport in Srinagar city remained off the road. The people were seen moving on- foot on the roads and streets. In the absence of adequate number of SRTC buses, the people had no relief at all. Even on Srinagar-Leh highway, the tankers and other commercial vehicles did not ply.
All J&K Transport Welfare Association led by T S Wazir had given call for strike today. Wazir alleged that Transport Department was forcing them to install vehicle tracking devices and panic button in the commercial vehicles while the Department has yet to set up a control room to monitor the activities. The Govt failed to give them reasonable time. Moreover, three companies have been selected by the Govt functionaries to purchase device for over Rs 14,000 while it is easily available for Rs 7000 to 8000 in Jammu and other parts.
He alleged that security number plates in vehicles have shown no good results while vehicle tracking system installed in oil tankers by the Oil companies few years ago, have already proved failure. He said now Transport department has stopped issuing fitness certificate to the vehicles. This is deliberate harassment to the transporters, he added.
Wazir warned to intensify the strike and make it indefinite if the Government failed to address their issues. He said Association has received invitation for talks from the office of Transport Commissioner, J&K at Srinagar. The meeting will be held at Civil Secretariat, Srinagar at 3 pm tomorrow. The Union leaders will attend the meeting at Srinagar, he said.