Normal life was paralysed in Jammu and Kashmir as more than 75000 passenger vehicles were off the road on Monday due to All J&K Passenger Transporter Welfare Association's (AJKTWA) call for strike for fare hike.
There was no passenger vehicle on the road since morning in Jammu and people were wandering here and there for a lift to reach their destinations. Attendance in schools, colleges and offices were very less as the most popular transport of Jammu (Matadors/Mini buses) were also off the road.
AJKTWA has given one day call for strike in the state to demand 30% hike in the passenger fare in the state. The transporters have also protested against the government in different parts of the state.
“There was a complete Chakka Jam in three regions of the state, It was a one day token strike to highlight our demands to the government,” said Anil Chopra, Sr. Vice President AJKTWA.
“Government has increased around Rs.9 in diesel price after the last increase in the passenger’s fare, now we cannot afford to run the vehicle on the same fare,” he added.
AJKTWA has given a week’s time now to finalise the fare hike, and they are hopeful that the government will come forward with a solution.
Government has made a fare standing committee under the chairmanship of finance commissioner and the committee has submitted their report to the government but the decision of the cabinet is still awaited.
Not only is the prospect of hike in fares worrying people in the state, the non-availability of passengers' transport was a major source of trouble for them too.
“I had an interview today at Udhampur, but I didn’t get transport to reach the venue, I had managed to get lift in a private car, but it was too late, said Sandeep Sharma, an unemployed youth.
Preeti Uppal a student of English department of Jammu University has forced her father to get leave from his office as she has submit her assignment today, so that her father can drop her at university from Akhnoor.
S N Koul, a teacher who is worried about the fare hike said, “I don’t know how much they will increase, but it will hit our budget once again.”
“The hike in the price of diesel and LPG has left the common man with no option, I don’t know how we will survive in this scenario” he added.