Taxicab drivers who served during floods still unpaid

Iqbal Kirmani
SRINAGAR: Five months on, Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police is yet to pay the transporters it hired for enhanced mobility during the devastating floods in September last year.
After floods damaged the vehicles of the force, the authorities hired services of the private transporters to run their routine operations. But five months later, the transporters are yet to be paid for their services.
“The payment is being delayed for reasons best known to them,” a cab driver Habibullah Dar told Kashmir Reader.
According to the transporters, they were made to work round the clock during the floods with a promise of sufficient returns from the authorities.
“We were promised fuel and money against the services we were providing the police. While the fuel was provided by the authorities, we are still waiting for money,” Ahmad Shahid, another cab driver, said.
“We used to pick and drop police officials from their homes and offices. We had to provide them the service during evenings also,” Shahid, who worked with police for 30 days, said.
According to Ammara Tour and Travel Agency, transporters who worked for 30 to 90 days with the armed wing of police are awaiting payments.
“Forty drivers from my agency are suffering because of this delay,” Sarwar Ahmad, owner of the Agency, told Kashmir Reader.
Ahmad said they have been unable to pay EMI to the banks due to the delay.
“Every car and every driver has a loan to repay. Since I was not able to pay my EMI, I had to plead the bank to provide me more time,” he added.
A senior official of police said the payments were delayed due to unavailability of funds.
“We are trying to complete the process for clearing the bills. The transporters will be paid soon,” he said.