Jammu: Stepping up the demand for abolition of newly set up Sarore toll plaza in Samba district along the Jammu-Pathankot highway, private passenger vehicles on Thursday went off the roads in entire Jammu region following a call for a ‘chakka jam’ given by All J&K Transport Welfare Association (AJKTWA).
Earlier, the private transporters plying their vehicles on the Jammu-Pathankot highway had gone on the indefinite strike on Monday and continued their protest demonstrations against the setting up of the toll plaza.
The commuters, including students and office-goers, faced hardships in the absence of the private passenger vehicles even as the government pressed State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) fleet on different routes to enable the people to reach their destinations.
Auto-rickshaws were also seen plying on some routes in the city, while the people were seen waiting for hours for the transport or going for hitchhiking to reach their destinations.
Accusing the state administration of turning a “blind eye to the genuine demands” of the transporters, AJKTWA president T S Wazir said they were forced to go for the strike from Lakhanpur to Kashmir.
“The association had given 24 hours ultimatum to the government regarding conceding the long pending demands of the passenger transporters, including abolition of Toll Plaza at Sarore, but the stoic silence maintained by the government on the demands has forced them to go ahead with its strike call,” he said.
The association is demanding revoking of new motor vehicle act, including nine per cent one time tax for registration of new vehicles and end to the alleged harassment by traffic police.
The toll plaza at Sarore was inaugurated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on October 11, drawing a strong reaction from all sections of society and political parties, including the BJP which had written a two-page letter to the Union Transport Ministry seeking its abolishment.
The Congress, National Panthers Party (NPP), National Conference and the PDP had also demanded immediate abolishment of the toll plaza.
On Tuesday, the NHAI defended its decision and sought to assure people of hassle-free movement of vehicles.
Transports held protest demonstrations at several places, including Vikram Chowk and Jewal Chowk, in the city for the fourth day on Thursday and raised slogans in support of their demand for abolishment of the toll plaza.