Will take action against violators: RTO Kashmir
Despite 30 percent hike in passenger fares announced by the transport department, valley based private cab owners have resorted to overcharge while SOPs are also not followed.
Commuters from various parts of Kashmir Saturday expressed their resentment against the authorities for failing to regulate passenger fares. They alleged cab drivers are not following any Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) as advised by the government.
Adil Jabbar, from Batamaloo, told Rising Kashmir that Sumo and Tavera cab owners have resorted to overcharging and are taking double fares prior to lockdown.
“There has been a 100 percent increase in the passenger fares and no one taking 30% extra as announced by the government in view of occupying less number of passengers,” he said.
Jabbar said the government is acting as a mute spectator on the issue and common people are being looted each passing day.
“Earlier Rs 110 was fixed for Sopore from Srinagar but now they are taking 220 from a passenger. Where would common people go, if these things continue,” he questioned?
In order to compensate for social distancing restrictions imposed by administration on transporters for seating capacity, the transport department ordered a 30 percent hike on existing fares across J&K.
Another passenger, Mohammad Arif from Kreeri complained that transporters particularly sumo drivers have started overcharging citing excuses of social distancing.
“People are charged double fares even if they ensure all seats are occupied. Salt is being rubbed,” he said.
Arif said for just 10 kilometers, he was compelled to pay Rs 60.
He said the admin must act against offenders and take strong action against them, so that people can get some relief.
Earlier this month, the administration had allowed JKSRTC buses, while private cabs are also seen ferrying passengers in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Private passenger buses are still off from the roads in Kashmir.
As per the reports, the passenger fares have doubled in every part of the valley.
People urge higher authorities to look into the matter.
Another local Haziq Sofi from Srinagar said it is a shame that the government is creating more trouble for the poor.
“They are responsible for a sudden increase in fares and admin should allow private buses to resume their services. Neither is anyone listening to our pleas nor cab drivers are following any SOPs while boarding the passengers,” Sofi said.
Regional Transport Officer Akramullah Tak told Rising Kashmir that strict action would be taken against the offenders. “If people find anyone overcharging, they should report the vehicle number to the RTO or concerned ARTO office,” he said.
Tak said registration certificates and licenses of such vehicles would be seized and booked under the law of the land.
He also stated that there is no official order regarding resuming of public transport in the valley. “Sumo drivers are plying unofficially and that is why they are not following SOPs” he said
However, General Secretary Kashmir Transporters Welfare Association (KTWA), Sheikh Mohammad Yousuf told Rising Kashmir that fare hike is insufficient for the valley transporters who have suffered heavy losses from the past 10 months.
He said the government has not allowed private transporters to resume their services. In case they would allow, they should allow 80% of seats to be occupied by passengers in private transport vehicles, so that their losses can be compensated, Yousuf said.
He also urged the government to waive off token taxes on all types of commercial vehicles and surcharge on petrol and diesel.
On 19 March this year, the Jammu and Kashmir Government imposed a ban on public transport to combat the spread of Coronavirus.