Bureaucrats took decision in haste, without public consultation: Traders’ Federation
Shopian: Since the Pulwama bus and cab stand has been shifted to Drusoo, more than two kilometers away from its old location, the local businessmen have been left high and dry, as very few people now visit the area.
The traders in the area say that the government move, which happened almost two years ago, has left more than 700 shopkeepers without any business at all, as most of the traffic is being diverted via the bypass.
They say that after the heavy losses incurred by them due to the Covid-19 lockdown and before that the post-August 5 lockdown, they are struggling to pay rents in the absence of any income.
Altaf Ahmad Kar, Secretary of the Traders Federation Pulwama, told Kashmir Reader that the old bus stand was spread on more than 18 kanals of land, which was big enough to accommodate cab and minibus services to all the major routes. Now it has been shifted to the town outskirts, where very few cabs and minibuses go to, he said.
In the land that the bus and cab stand has vacated, the government has given space to vendors, further hitting the business of local shopkeepers, he said.
“We appeal to the lieutenant governor’s administration to allow space for at least 30 passenger vehicles here, so that they can run the services from here and the local business community does not suffer,” Kar said.
Besides the losses to the business community, the daily commuters also face hardships as they are forced to pay extra fares for another vehicle to reach the new stand.
Basit Shaheen, a college student, told Kashmir Reader that the government degree college is situated 4 kilometers from the new bus stand. Students have to change two vehicles to travel from the new bus stand to college, and vice versa, he said.
“While the government authorities shifted the bus stand, they on the other hand allowed more mini cabs to run services from the new bus stand to interiors of town, which instead of decreasing traffic jams have increased them,” Shaheen said.
Kar said that traders were going to hold a meeting with the district development chairman on Friday so that the issue is brought to the notice of higher authorities.
“Public protests on the issue are being met with force. When there is no elected government, people like us have least access to the bureaucrats who took this decision in haste and without considering the problems of businessmen and daily commuters,” Kar said.