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Private transporters in Jammu go on hunger strike demanding relief package

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Jammu : Dozens of private transporters on Tuesday went on a hunger strike here in support of their various demands, including a relief package to overcome the crisis faced by the industry due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The protesting transporters served a two-day ultimatum to the UT administration and threatened to intensify their agitation if it paid no heed to their demands by stopping the movement of trucks and tankers engaged in essential supplies in J&K.

The agitators, under the banner of All J&K Transport Welfare Association (AJKTWA), assembled near the Press Club here and later went on a chain hunger strike near Tawi Bridge.

“We have been forced to come on the roads due to the lackluster attitude of the government which has miserably failed to address our concerns and issues,” Chairman of the AJKTWA T S Wazir told reporters.

He said they will wait for two days for a positive response from the J&K administration.

“If the government failed to fulfill our demands, we will stop all tankers and trucks engaged in delivery of essential commodities and park these vehicles on the main roads,” he said, adding in such a scenario, the government will be responsible for the outcome.

Wazir said the main demands of the association included a financial package for the drivers, cleaners and other allied workers of the transport industry, waiving off interest of the loans taken by transporters for vehicles and waiving off insurance and other fees during the lockdown period.

“The government has allowed operation of flights, many trains and State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) fleet but the private public transport and goods carriers besides other vehicles are not being allowed to operate,” he said, adding the families of vehicle operators are dependent only on daily earnings.

Wazir said he had written to Lt Governor G C Murmu some time back about the plight of the transport operators but received “no response”.

“The SRTC vehicles are operating with full capacity but the private transport has been left to face discrimination,” he said, demanding normal operations of all types of vehicles with some guidelines.

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