Srinagar: Life in Kashmir was thrown out of gears on Wednesday due to a shutdown (Chakka Jam) called by Kashmir Transport Welfare Association (KTWA) to protest against the government decision of shifting and sealing General Bus Stand Batamaloo and relocating it to Parimpora.
Traders in the vicinity of Batamaloo bus stand also observed a shutdown as they say the shifting of the bus stand will affect their livelihood.
Commuters across the Valley faced immense hardships as buses and mini-buses remained off the roads. Cabs could, however, be seen plying on various routes, but they were unable to set off the passenger load.
“People either used cabs or train to reach Srinagar. Everyone, mostly students and employees faced difficulties due to Chakka Jam,” Khurshid Malik, a resident of Kulgam said.
Many commuters criticized the government move of relocating the bus stand and termed it against the interest of public.
“Relocation of bus stand from Batamaloo to Parimpora will add burden on the shoulders of common people because we would have to pay double fare to reach to our destinations,” Mohammad Ashraf, a bank employee told Kashmir Reader.
Imtiyaz Rashid Beigh, a government employee who travelled on foot from HMT to Lal-Chowk in order to reach his office at Nishat, said that he could not find a cab to office.
“I usually travel in mini-buses and sometimes I prefer to travel via cabs because they were easily available. Today around hundreds of cabs passed but none of them had a space to adjust me,” he said.
Tawseef Mushtaq, a student, said that relocation would add to the mess in the city.
“The bus stand was close to everything like hospitals, education institutions and many institutions and Lal-chowk in particular. Its relocation would give birth to more mess,” he said.
Transport and trade association had set up banners along the Batamallo bus stand. A group of drivers and conductors who were present inside the bus stand said that government stands exposed as traffic jaw jams were reported from various places in the city.
“Authorities have been saying that we create traffic mess in the city. What people witnessed today is an eye opener for all of them that buses are not responsible for everything,” one of the drivers said. “Government should accept that the fault lies within them because they have failed to construct roads according to the present need.”
General Scretary of the Kashmir Transporters Welfare Association Sheikh Mohmmad Yousuf told Kashmir Reader that transporters would continue to register their protest unless their demands are met. “We will hold a meeting and decide our programme in coming days.”Mehbooba asks officers to be change agents against corruption.