Jammu, Feb 15: More than 200 Kashmir bound stranded passengers on Thursday staged protest here demanding resumption of traffic on Jammu-Srinagar national highway which was closed after landslides and fresh snowfall.
Shouting anti-government slogans, the passengers stranded for the last three-days here staged a protest against the government’s ‘failure’ to restore traffic on the highway.
The passengers staged protest near General Bus Stand further alleging that they are taking shelter under open sky while the hoteliers and restaurant owners have illegally hiked the rates.
“The hotel and lodges owners are overcharging from us for a single stay besides selling a cup of tea from R 10 to Rs 30,” alleged a protestor.
They however, threatened that they will stage protest on Jammu-Kashmir highway if the traffic movement is not restored immediately.
Meanwhile Divisional Commissioner Jammu Hemant Kumar here told reporters that he visited the Bus Stand and reviewed the situation.
“I interacted with the passengers and directions have been issued following which over 400 stranded persons were provided meals,” said Mr Kumar adding that four dormitories have also been thrown open for the passengers especially the families and children to take shelter.
“The State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) has been asked to board the stranded passengers as soon as the national highway is thrown open for the vehicular movement and as per our knowledge, the road is almost through for the traffic while the process of transporting them will begin,” said the Divisional Commissioner.
Meanwhile Minister for Revenue, Hajj & Auqaf and Parliamentary Affairs, Abdul Rehman Veeri today visited Bus Stand Jammu to take stock of the measures being put in place by the district administration to provide basic amenities to the stranded passengers due to closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Dr Arun Manhas and other officers from civil administration and police accompanied the Minister
The Minister was briefed about the arrangements being made by the administration for safe stay of the passengers. It was informed that lodging and other facilities including food are being made available for these people.
The Minister asked the district administration to provide all necessary support to the people till the highway is opened for traffic.
Veeri also interacted with the passengers and listened to their problems.
Responding to the issue of over-charging by some hotel owners, the Minister directed the ADC Jammu to look into the issue.
ADC Jammu informed the Minister that concerned SDPO and SHO have been directed to ensure that people do not pay high charges. He said that even the passengers are requested to inform police authorities in case anyone tries to overcharge them.
The Minister also asked district administration to depute a team of doctors and paramedical staff at the Bus Stand so that health care facilities would be provided to needy passengers. He also asked for facilitating vehicular movement as and when the traffic resumes on the National Highway connecting Jammu to Srinagar and other districts.
The Minister also directed for keeping strict vigil on prices of various commodities including travel expenses to ensure affordable stay and travel to the stranded passengers.