City minibus operators threaten indefinite strike against “illegal” plying of Sumo taxis

SRINAGAR: Valley’s minibus owners and transporters have threatened to go for an indefinite strike if the “illegal” stands and plying of Sumo taxis is not stopped by the government.
Mini Bus Association, which operates its mini bus services on the most routes of the city and elsewhere, on Monday threatened to go for an indefinite strike as on Sunday the minibus operators on Batamaloo-Hazratbal route went on a strike against the sumo operators, who according to them come up with “illegal stands, taking toll on the livelihood of the minibus operators”.
“We are not against Sumo services to particular routes but they ply illegally if we go by law. J&K Motor Vehicle Act doesn’t allow these Sumos to ply on city routes because they have Contract Permit while we operate under State Carriage permit,” chairman All Kashmir Passenger Mini-Bus Transport Federation, Sheikh Mohammad Yusuf, told Kashmir Reader Monday.
Yousuf said that they complained about the issue with transport authorities but nothing conclusive came out of the meetings. “We went to the officials with the representations and expressed our concerns to them and apprised them coming up of illegal Sumo stands in the city, but the authorities seem less bothered about our grievances,” he said.
Yusuf also said that the minibus operators are suffering lot because of these illegal stands and is taking toll on their livelihood and the drivers and operators now have decide to go for strike.
“If any Sumo taxi stand is allowed to operate ten Sumos the same stand operates 50. What can a minibus operator do? The government ordered the close of bus bays and stands for the transport services in city but you can see these Sumo services operate from those stands. There is a clear violation of court orders by allowing Sumo taxis to operate from these stands,” Yusuf said.
He said they met Regional Transport Officer, Kashmir who assured them that he will look into the matter about how many Sumos are plying on the route.
“We can’t bear more losses we are helpless. We have loans. The government doesn’t have and transport policy for the Valley transporters. If the government fails to stop the operations of these illegal Sumo stands and services we will go for indefinite strike and the date will be announced in coming weeks,” Yousuf said.