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Strike by transporters hits normal life in J-K

The day-long strike by transporters in support of their various demands hit normal life across Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday as commuters faced hardships to reach their destinations.

The strike from Lakhanpur to Kashmir was called by the All J-K Transport Welfare Association in support of various demands, including 30 percent hike in passenger fare, waiving off token tax, passenger tax, renewal fee and penalties.

Transporters, along with drivers and conductors, staged protest demonstrations at various places in Jammu and elsewhere during the strike, officials said, adding no untoward incident was reported from anywhere as the protesters dispersed peacefully.

The transporters and transport operators have suffered a lot after the outbreak of coronavirus in March. Many transporters have turned bankrupt due to lockdown and lack of any support from the government, president, All J-K Transport Welfare Association, T S Wazir said.

He said there was strong resentment among the transporters against the administration for its rigid attitude .

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways extended the validity of all documents till March 31, 2021 but the J&K UT government is imposing penalties for all documents at the time of their renewal, Wazir said.

He said the association approached the administration many times and also submitted cost of operation for revision of passenger tax and proposed 30 percent hike in passenger fare due to daily increase in the prices of diesel and petrol.

Meanwhile, J-K unit of the Congress extended support to the agitating transporters and asked the administration to concede their genuine demands.

The transporters are already hard-pressed due to wrong policies of the government and overburdened due to heavy taxations apart from the prevailing COVID situation, J-K Pradesh Congress Committee vice president Raman Bhalla and chairman transport cell of the party Gajan Singh said in a joint statement.

The unreasonable hike in various forms of taxes including one-time road tax cess being charged should be reviewed in view of heavy losses to the transport industry. The unprecedented hike in the rates of fuel and other spare parts besides hike in insurance of vehicles have put a huge burden on the transporters, the statement said.

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