SRINAGAR: The bus services in Kashmir remained suspended for the tenth consecutive day in response to shutdown called by transporters and traders protesting against the relocation of General Bus Stand from Batamaloo to Parimpora.
Traders as well as transporters have pitched tents inside the seized bus stand to register their protest against the government move. Union leaders of both transporters and traders updated their members about the meetings they (association leaders) have been holding with the government over the issue. The land has been seized by the Srinagar Development Authority on the directions of state high court.
Mohmmad Yasin Guru, General Sectary Iqbal market told Kashmir Reader that traders would continue to resist until their demands were met. “Over 5500 shops would be affected by this decision. Our sales are dependent on the people who arrive in Batamaloo area from different villages,” he said.
Guru said that Batamaloo trade bodies conducted a meeting with the divisional commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan on the latter’s invitation. “The divisional commissioner told the delegation members that government will rehabilitate the traders. We asked him to initiate rehabilitation process before the relocation of the bus stand,” he said. He said the rehabilitation process can take years and during this period the government wants the traders to fend for themselves.
“It’s not an easy process to rehabilitate over 5500 traders. We don’t know how much time it will take. We are being clear that we cannot afford to take the risk as lakhs of people could be affected,” he said.
Sheikh Mohmmad Yousf, general secretary of the Kashmir Transporters Welfare Association told Kashmir Reader that the district administration was misleading the High Court and Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti. “We are not rigidly against the relocation but there are certain issues that government should address,” he said.
Yousuf said the protesting transporters and traders were waiting for Mehbooba Mufti’s statement as she promised them to take a passionate view of the entire issue. “We understand she would have been very much busy these days so we have decided to wait for few more days. If no steps are taken to address our issues we will be forced to give indefinite strike call across the valley,” he said.
Meanwhile a number of commuters blocked the Batamallo main road to register their protest. They said that due to the strike of large buses, common people were becoming the unnecessary victims. “Everyone cannot afford to hire cabs. The government should take initiatives to end the deadlock for the betterment of people,” Mohmad Ashraf Dar, a resident of Kreeri told Kashmir Reader. Te protesting commuters were later asked by the police to disperse.