BUDGAM: The commuters in Aripanthan and Hazarpora villages in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Sunday staged a protest against the “exorbitant hike” in fares by the transporters.
Scores of commuters on Sunday morning hit the streets and blocked the roads connecting Magam-Khag, Magam-Poshker on Srinagar-Tosamaidan road. They alleged that the transporters are charging old excessive fares and demanded it’s reduction.
They said that when last year, the government hiked the prices of petroleum products, the transporters said it was impossible for them to run their vehicles at the previous fares and the raise in it had become inevitable.
“The increase in fares occurred two times. However, after there was a consecutive cut in the prices of petroleum and diesel they are still charging the old rates and are refusing to decrease,” the protestors said.
Meanwhile, the transporters who had stuck in the protest march pretended that they were neither given a new list of revised fares nor the transport department had made any announcement in this regard. “The local administration had also not even verbally asked for any downward revision in the fares,” the transporters claim, while brushing aside the arguments of the passengers.
A local student, Tanveer Ahmad Mir alleged that the transporters are charging arbitrarily due to which locals are facing a lot of inconveniences in travelling in cabs.
He blamed that the transporters are charging Rs 15 and 20 for a distance of only 3-4 km from Magam town. However, actual fare is only Rs 10 for the respective distance.
Mir added that the drivers didn’t accept the revised rates, however, they push the passengers out of vehicle if they contest their old excessive rates.
“Recently, a woman from Aripanthan village was not allowed to travel in the sumo from Magam to Aripanthan and was forcibly evacuated from the vehicle by the driver,” said another local resident, Shabir Ahmad.
Locals said that drivers are never willing to carry passengers to this distance even some times their behaviour is also indecent to these commuters.
However, after the protestors refused to end up the protests, the SHO Magam reached to the spot and pacified the angry protestors assuring them to take up the matter with ARTO Budgam.
However, ARTO Budgam, Mubasheer Jan, couldn’t be contacted because he has gone abroad.