BUDGAM: The residents of Poshker area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district have time and again accused local Sumo taxi drivers of taking extra fare charges. The residents also allege that the Transport Department is failing to enforce government-prescribed fare rates.
Scores of commuters complained to Kashmir Reader that the Sumo drivers have been fleecing passengers by levying hefty charges for a distance of merely four-and-a-half kilometres.
In the meantime, they blamed Poshker Sumo agent Showkat Ahmad Malla and president Sumo stand Khag Abdul Ahad for encouraging the cab drivers to charge extra commuters.
The residents added, “In the absence of a proper monitoring mechanism by the concerned authorities, the common man is forced to pay extra fare according to the ‘own will’ of the Sumo drivers.
“The actual prescribed rate for the said route is only Rs 8.50 for a 4.5 km distance, but they are taking Rs 15 from us for reasons unknown,” they said, adding, “Since the onset of winter, they frequently ask us to pay Rs 30 and 40. If we refuse to pay, they leave us to God’s mercy.
“We have already raised this issue with the Transport administration many times, but they have failed to implement any action on the ground.”
Shahida, a girl student, related how “the Sumo drivers board 11 passengers while the government permits them only of nine”. She also added, “When someone argues with them, they misbehave and sometimes use abusive language.”
An elderly man from Lokipora village said that on Saturday while returning home from Khag Tehsil headquarters, scores of passengers were left to their fate by Sumo drivers who were supposed to carry the commuters via the same route.
He added that when scores of passengers, including a few women, asked the driver to drop them to their homes, he at first refused and later put the condition of being paid Rs 40, which is four times the actual rate.
“We request the concerned officials – RTO Budgam, Tehsildar Khag, SHO Khag – to kindly intervene in this matter, so that this issue may come to an end.”
When contacted, Tehsildar Khag Farooq Ahmad Dar said that he will look into the matter.