The Western Bus Service (WBS) today announced an indefinite strike against the shifting of Batmaloo General Bus Stand to the outskirts of city at Parimpora.
Established in 1978, Bus Stand Batmaloo caters to the most parts of the valley including some faraway places of Gurez in North Kashmir.
“The move will render us jobless and we won’t be able to survive it,” said Muhmmad Sultan, General Manager of Western Bus Services in Batmaloo.
Around eight hundred passenger buses run from the Bus stand Batmaloo and the transporters fear that shifting the bus stand will render not only them jobless but most of the workers who work in and around the bus stand.
“When they shifted some of the buses to the Panthachowk in southern part of the city, most of them were rendered jobless. Out of 800 people who were shifted from here, only 175 buses are working now there,” Sultan added. “We don’t want that to happen to us”.
“Therefore we will continue our strike till the decision is not revoked by the government.”
Sultan said that the authorities are here to generate unemployment rather than employment.
“We will continue to protest until the decision to relocate the stand is not revoked by the government,” he said.
The bus owners at the WBS said that from the last few years, bus owners were only ones who suffered the most.
“Now the move to shift the bus stand will tell upon our survival,” said a driver from Bandipora.
Meanwhile, the WBS officials alleged that the government is going to settle small passenger vehicles inside the bus stand.
“They have issued 45,000 route permits to small car vehicles and want them to take our space,” said Bilal Ahmad Pandith, General Secretary of WBS.
The Commuters while talking to the Kashmir Vision said that they will face inconvenience due to this step as they will have to travel long distance to Parimpora to board buses.
People coming to Srinagar from nearby villages for various purposes will also face problems in commuting to Parimpora.
“The daily wagers who work in the city have Batmaloo as the centre point. They can go to any city part without taking any other passenger vehicle,” Said Ghulam Mohideen of Tangmarg.
“I can travel to any part of the city by foot from Batmaloo, which is impossible from Parimpora. I have to spend more on my fare,” he added.
“The drivers won’t feel any heat, the shifting of the bus stand will impact the passengers heavily,” a passenger from Bandipora said.