‘It’s the innumerable illegal Sumos which are the reason for congestion’
Srinagar: The transporters of the valley have extended the strike up to 15th of September against the shifting of the Batamaloo Bus stand to Parimpora.
The transporters have been on strike since the 5th of September.
With a stern ‘off the roads’ call, Kashmir Motor Driver’s (KMD) and Western Bus Stand transporters are waiting for ‘justice to be delivered’ which they believe can happen only if the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti follows her deceased father’s ‘dream’.
“In 2015 late Mufti Mohammad Syed had promised us a fifty feet wide road from the Tattoo ground and a space in front of the ground itself to park buses, from where by-pass would have been our route. We want CM to revise that plan only,” said Mohammad Yousuf, General Secretary, Kashmir Transporters Welfare Association.
Some portion of the ground at that time was being evacuated by the army for the development of a ‘citizen park’ that was never developed. Then then GOC Satish Dua had said in front of the then CM that it would be a park for the ‘Awaam’ and the Army. At that time it was also decided that some space would be provided to the transporters for their buses as well.
The new bus terminal at Parimpora is claimed to be less spacious than it has to be. The order carried out by the Vice Chancellor, Srinagar Development Authority, said it would be accommodating eighty big-buses, eighty mini-buses, eighty Sumos and forty Auto-rickshaws but later after the strike the order was revised and made to fit in one hundred and forty one big-buses and ninety eight minibuses.
While according to transporters the space that the new terminal is providing is nowhere near the space that is required to park eight hundred and fifty big-buses, fourteen hundred minibuses and incalculable sumos.
“This space is a hoax in the name of a bus terminal. It can’t contain the auto mobiles we have but what are they going to do about the innumerable illegal sumos that have been given permits by these people only,” Yousuf adds.
He further added, “After the strike the sumo drives revised the rates on their own and started to charge passengers more for the same stop,” Yousuf complains.
The reason given to these transporters on strike for shifting the Batamaloo bus terminal to Parimpora, was the congestion created at the former bus terminal by the big and mini buses, but the drivers are stating otherwise.
“We have been on strike since 9 days and no one is concerned about us. We have been given a lame reason but the reality is that, more than five hundred unregistered sumo plying illegally are the ones that occupy the space on roads and creates congestion,” says a bus driver, Fayaz Rigu.