Three-wheelers also allowed, with max 2 passengers
Srinagar: Three months after the Covid lockdown began, state transport buses of Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) will resume inter-district services in Kashmir.
Private transport is still not allowed to ply between districts, but three-wheelers, with only 2 passengers allowed, can operate now within the district, according to a government order issued on Friday.
Angrez Singh Rana, Managing Director of JKSRTC, said that the buses will run in all the district headquarters except in the containment zones.
He said that the decision to run buses on the Srinagar-Jammu route will be taken only after getting a nod from the government.
“Our inter-district public passenger busses will operate with up to 2/3rd seating capacity. Seating arrangements are made in all buses to ensure physical distancing,” he said.
He added that all passengers would need to cover their faces on board the buses.
“Face mask is a basic requirement for entry into the bus station and hand sanitisation is a must for each passenger before boarding a bus,” he said.
“We are going to start bus service from Tral, Pulwama, Anantnag, Baramulla, Kupwara, Sopore, Tangmarg, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Soura, Pampore, and Harwan area of Srinagar city,” he said.
He added that till further orders, only 12 buses will ply for now. “If demand will increase, then we will increase the number of buses,” Rana said.
Private transporters criticised the government order as discriminatory and apathetic to their plight. Sheikh Mohammad Yousuf, general secretary of Transporters Welfare Association Kashmir, called it “sheer injustice with us”.
“The authorities must allow us to work so that we are able to earn something,” he said. “We are suffering for the past 10 months and the government must rethink this decision.”