Other States

Transporters in Kashmir turn vehicles into kiosks

Unable to work since lockdown, operators of private passenger vehicles seek govt. intervention

Nazeer Jan, a driver by profession, is now doubling up as a fruit vendor in Srinagar. Idle for 98 days since the COVID-19 lockdown began, Mr. Jan is among several private passenger transport operators who have turned their vehicles into kiosks that they drive around the Barbarshah and Baghwanpora areas of the old city in Srinagar.

“I have three children and parents to feed. I buy fruit from the wholesale market and then drive around in the interiors of the localities to escape police checkpoints and sell fruit. I cannot see my children sleeping on an empty stomach,” Mr. Jan said.

Also read | Shops open in Srinagar after 83 days

Hundreds of drivers and owners of private passenger transport vehicles are struggling to feed their families. Some also have to repay monthly instalments of loans on their vehicles.

There is no guideline yet on their services being restored in the Kashmir valley.

The authorities on Saturday foiled an attempt by drivers to hit the streets in desperation.

“The government should either discard our vehicles forever or allow us to resume work to feed our families,” said Srinagar-Jammu-Ladakh Taxi Services Owners and Drivers Union head Waseem Ashraf Bhat.

He demanded that small vehicles be allowed to ply. “We are ready to follow guidelines,” Mr. Bhat said.

Drivers have appealed to Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu to intervene in the matter. “The government should draft standard operating procedures so that we can start earning again,” said Manzoor Ahmad, a driver.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 10:32:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/transporters-in-kashmir-turn-vehicles-into-kiosks/article31934826.ece

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