Transporters on strike as fresh COVID-19 guidelines come into effect in J-K

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Jammu, Apr 21 (PTI) Private transporters in Jammu went on an indefinite strike on Wednesday to protest a government order capping the seating capacity to 50 per cent in public transport vehicles in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new guidelines, which also include restrictions on opening of shops at market places and malls as part of steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection amid a recent spike, came into effect on Wednesday morning.

Protesting against the order, the transporters launched a strike to press for hiking of fares.

While most private buses, mini-buses and cab operators suspended work in response to the strike call given by the J&K Transporters Welfare Forum (TWF), three-wheelers were seen plying normally, bringing some relief to commuters.

'The government has taken a decision without consulting us. It is not feasible for transporters to ply their vehicles with 50 per cent passengers on board. The fuel prices are skyrocketing and the transporters were the hardest hit since the outbreak of the pandemic,' TWF president T S Wazir said.

The government, in the meanwhile, pressed State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses on different routes to facilitate commuters, but the non-availability of the public transport caused much inconvenience.

Policemen were also seen patrolling main markets in the city to enforce the government order to keep 50 per cent of the shops closed.

Among the new COVID-19 control measures announced on Tuesday, the government imposed a night curfew in municipal and urban local body limits of all 20 districts in the union territory.

It also said that public transport (matadors/mini-buses/buses) shall be permitted to ply only at 50 per cent of its authorised seating capacity, and only half of the shops in market complexes, bazaars and malls within the municipal or urban local body limits shall be opened on an alternate basis through a rotation system. PTI TAS AB IJT