SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir Transport Department (JKTD) has not implemented an SRO (Service Rules Order) that waived the token and passenger tax for vehicles which were off roads during last year’s civil uprising and curfew.
The Transport Secretary had on March 24 exempted such vehicles from taxes with effect from July 1, 2016, to December 2016 through an SRO, a copy of which is with Kashmir Reader. The transporters had been asked to furnish an affidavit saying that their vehicle was not plying on the roads during the said period.
However, transporters say they have been asked to pay all taxes. General Secretary of Kashmir Passengers Welfare Transporters Association, Mohammad Yousuf, told Kashmir Reader that the Regional Transport Office (RTO) Kashmir has told transporters that many have already paid the taxes, and therefore, the remaining lot should pay as well.
“What does this SRO stand for when it has not been implemented? Though Jammu had not suffered in 2016, but they too have taken its benefits and those who deserve it are being pushed to the wall. The RTO should respect the SRO and return the tax to those who have already paid it,” Yousuf said.
In February, Yousuf had met Chief Minster Mehbooba Mufti and Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu and both of them had agreed to waive the taxes. Yousuf said that the SRO was issued after this meeting.
“I have already met the RTO Kashmir officer many times in this regard but to no avail,” Yousuf said.
Transporters had been affected for nearly six months due to the 2016 anti-India uprising triggered by the killing of popular rebel Burhan Wani.
President of All Jammu and Kashmir Tampo Travellers Association, Fayaz Ahmad, said that the RTO Kashmir told him that a technical glitch in software through which payment is done has caused the problem.
“I met him last week, but the problem is still there,” he said.
Transport Secretary Hemant Kumar Sharma said the department has already written to the finance department to absorb the already paid tax in the next fiscal, but they have not yet responded.
“Regarding the technical glitch, I will take up the issue and get it resolved as soon as possible. And once the finance department returns our request regarding absorption of already paid tax in the next fiscal, we will get into action,” he said.
Minister of State for Transport Sunil Kumar Sharma told Kashmir Reader that he will look into the issue.