Transporters warn state-wide strike from Oct 17; NPP, others continue protest

Transporters and activists of other organisations protesting at Sarore on Tuesday.
Transporters and activists of other organisations protesting at Sarore on Tuesday.

Public transport remains off roads for 2nd day

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Oct 15: While the public transport including buses and mini buses remained off the roads on Jammu, Kathua and Samba routes for second consecutive day, the protest demonstrations against the installation of Toll Plaza on Jammu-Pathankot National Highway at Sarore in Samba district continued for fourth consecutive day in different parts of Jammu region today.

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The commuters especially Government employees and students on all routes of Samba and Kathua districts faced problems for the second consecutive day today due to strike by public transporters protesting against the installation of Toll Plaza. At various places the employees and students were seen returning to their homes after a long wait on bus stops as public transport did not ply on the roads. Meanwhile All J&K Transport Welfare Association has warned that in case the decision was not revoked and the other problems of transporters were not solved the buses in entire State will remain off the roads. The Association which met here, today under the chairmanship of T S Wazir its chairman and which was attended by presidents and representatives of all Commercial Transport Associations warned that if the demands were not settled within 24 four hours no passenger vehicle will ply on roads from Lakhanpur to Srinagar, Poonch, Doda etc from October 17 and passenger and commercial vehicles will observe complete strike.
To register their strong protest against the installation of Toll Plaza and terming it an anti people decision of NHAI activists, Public Rights Foundation, JK Students Union, National Students Union of India (NSUI and Jammu Kathua Bus Transport Union held a strong protest demonstration and Satyagrah near Toll Plaza Sarore. Raising the slogans like “Toll Hatao, Vipakshi Neta Bahar lao” they warned the Government of serious consequences for its anti people policies.
The activist of Public Rights Foundation Amandeep Singh appealed the opposition leaders to come in their support. He said setting up of Toll Plaza is an injustice with people of Jammu and local people will have to bear the brunt of this anti people decision. He also challenged BJP to establish Toll Plaza at Srinagar.
Another protest was held by JKNPP at party office Samba against establishment of Toll Plaza. The protest was held under the leadership of its chairman, Harshdev Singh in which ex Minster Yashpal Kundal and district Youth president, Rajeshwar Singh also participated.
The party activists raised slogans against the BJP and Central Government and torched the effigy of Union Government. They termed the installation of Toll Plaza at Sarore a Deepawali gift from Narendra Modi Government to people of Jammu.
Talking to media persons Harshdev Singh, chairman of the party said that for last two days buses and mini buses are off the roads due to which people are facing lot of problems to reach to their destinations. He said though marriage season has also started, the BJP Government has given the Toll Plaza as Diwali gift to people of Jammu.
Harshdev, while taking a dig at NHAI authorities asked the regulatory body to come out with the updated rules of charging Toll Tax in the public domain.
Traders Federation Ware House, Nehru market Jammu while expressing its dismay and resentment over the installation of Toll Plaza also termed it a Dewali gift to Jammu. The Federation said that it was because of the support given by nationalist people of Jammu that Central Government succeeded in removing the Articles 370 and 35 A from the State and in return they were slapped with Toll Tax by establishing Toll Plaza at Sarore.
The Federation in a meeting held under the chairmanship of its president Ratan Lal Mahajan while discussing the situation arising out of establishment of Toll Plaza at Sarore said the another one is in pipeline at Hiranagar. The meeting termed it unfortunate and unjustified.
Meanwhile, PCC chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir has also strongly criticized the BJP for installation of another Toll Plaza at Sarore on Jammu-Pathankot NH within distance of 50 kms from existing one.
In a statement issued here today he said the third one is in the pipeline on this route which amounts to over taxing the people in the already economically distressed atmosphere in the country.
Terming it unjustified and unfair, Mir said it looks strange that this has been done by the BJP, which opposed it few years back while in the opposition by terming it `Jazia’ on pilgrims. It was abandoned by UPA Government on public demand and now when BJP is in power they have installed second Toll Plaza on highway which is extra burden on pilgrims of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji and Shri Amarnath Ji.
PCC vice president and former Minister, Raman Bhalla while criticizing the decision of the Central Government led by BJP said the imposition of Toll Plaza and other types on the people of Jammu will not be tolerated.
In a statement issued here, today Bhalla said Congress will never tolerate and allow it. Talking to reporters here he said when people give mandate to a party it has to work for the public interest but it is unfortunate that despite two BJP MPs from Jammu region and one being a Union Minister still they put an extra burden on the patriotic people of Jammu by installing Toll Plaza at Sarore.