Stranded passengers decry official apathy

Jammu: Stranded for over three days now, the Kashmir bound passengers on Thursday staged a massive protest against the government for its failure to restore the traffic movement on Jammu-Srinagar national highway. The passengers also blamed the government for failing to provide any help to them.

Witnesses said that the stranded passengers staged a massive protest near the General Bus stand Jammu and said the authorities have left them to in a situation of despair.

 “We are stranded here for over three days but no officer from the government or district administration visited us here,” the angry passengers said, adding that few police cops visit to give them false assurances about restoration of traffic on the highway.

“Police officials are visiting us after every hour and say traffic will be restored but we are stranded here for four days now,” they said.

The passengers are taking shelter under open sky in Bus stand as according to them, the hostlers and restaurant owners have illegally hiked the rates for hiring rooms.

“Hoteliers have hiked the rates of rooms. They are charging us Rs 1500 for a room that was available for mere 500 Rs just a few days ago,” said Rayees Ahmad, a stranded passenger.

He said that even street vendors have hiked the price of commodities and eatables as for a cup of tea a passenger has to pay Rs 30.

The passengers threatened that they will stage protest on Jammu-Kashmir national highway if the traffic movement is not restored.

“Road should be opened or government should take other measures to enable us for reaching our home,” they said.

The stranded passengers said they are fleeced by the shopkeepers as well.

Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Hemant Kumar said the stranded passengers were given food by the food civil supplies and consumer affairs departments and other measures are also taken to ease the stranded passengers.

“I have directed CAPD to provide food to the stranded passengers as they might not have enough money left to buy food,” he said.

Sharma said the administration was constantly monitoring the road clearance process and SRTC department has been asked to ferry the stranded passengers to their respective homes as and when the road is cleared for traffic.

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