Private buses stay off roads as strike against toll plaza enters fifth day in Jammu’s Samba
The AJKPTA-sponsored indefinite ‘chakka jam’ hit normal life in the Jammu region on Thursday with commuters facing tremendous hardship in reaching their destinations.Updated: Oct 18, 2019 23:59 IST
The private passenger bus service along the Jammu-Pathankot highway remained suspended for the fifth consecutive day on Friday to protest against the newly set up toll plaza in Samba district, officials said. However, the people in other parts of the Jammu region heaved a sigh of relief as All J&K Passenger Transporters Association (AJKPTA) called off their indefinite strike after holding a meeting with a senior government official here.
While the private passenger vehicles went off the roads along the Jammu-Pathankot highway on Monday against the toll plaza at Sarore in Samba, the AJKPTA-sponsored indefinite ‘chakka jam’ hit normal life in the Jammu region on Thursday with commuters facing tremendous hardship in reaching their destinations. “The indefinite strike has been called off after we got an assurance from the divisional commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma that major relief will be given to the people from the toll tax at Sarore,” AJKPTA president T S Wazir said. He said representatives of the association are meeting the state administration and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) again next week and will raise other long-pending demands including revocation of nine% one time tax for registration of new vehicles.
“The next course of action will be decided on the outcome of the proposed meeting,” he said.
However, Kathua-Jammu bus association president Kuldeep Singh said they have decided to continue the strike till their demand for abolishment of the toll tax at Sarore is not met.
“We want removal of the toll post because it is an additional burden on transporters, particularly the buses plying on the Jammu-Kathua highway,” Singh told PTI. The toll plaza at Sarore was inaugurated by NHAI on October 11, drawing a strong protest from the people from all sections of the society and political parties including the BJP which had written a two-page letter to the Union Transport ministry seeking abolishment of the toll plaza.
Congress, National Conference, Panthers party, People’s Democractic Party (PDP) and other groups have also demanded abolishment of the toll plaza.
“We are being charged Rs 225 for one side crossing and are not in a position to pay toll tax given the increase in insurance, permit, fine on traffic violations and fuel prices,” Singh said, requesting the state administration to consider their demand.