Immediate focus should be on alleviating hardships of poor, vulnerable groups: Bhalla

JAMMU: Sulking over no relief package to the transporters, delay in the resumption of commercial transportation, delegation of transporters on Tuesday called on former Minister and senior Congress leader Raman Bhalla at Guru Nanak Nagar.
They said government has announced a relief package for all the sectors but they have been left high and dry. Transporters have suffered huge losses due to the lockdown. While rail and air traffic have been resumed and liquor vends have been opened, they are at loss to run their vehicles in J&K. “A large number of drivers and helpers are on verge of bankruptcy. The COVID-19 outbreak has left a devastating impact on the transport sector with thousands of drivers and helpers rendered jobless and struggling to survive the pandemic for last two months,” they said. They said that it is unfortunate that no specific package has been announced for the transporters, who have mostly taken loans from the banks and are unable to repay them.
Speaking on the occasion, Bhalla said that Transport sector needs urgent support to survive as more than 20 crore people are directly and indirectly dependent on this sector.He demanded “issuing advisory to the State Government/ UTs for tax holiday for Motor Vehicle Tax/Road Tax /State Tax/Good Tax/ Token Tax/Passenger Tax for the FY 2020-21.He also demanded extension of validity of fitness, permit (all Types), driving licence, registration or any other concerned document(s) whose extension of validity could not be processed due to lockdown and which have been expired since February 1, 2020 till the end of the current fiscal.“There is no revenue generation, no financial inflows as payments from parties are restrained and existing finance with the small operators as well as that of big operators is depleting fast,” he said. Expressing serious concern over the plight of transporters due to continued lockout, Bhalla demanded special package for drivers and conductors living in penury.
Bhalla demanded a special financial package for the rehabilitation and revival of the transport industry including its allied sectors in Jammu and Kashmir. Last two months of the COVID lockdown has also added to the sufferings of this sector to an extent that people associated with this industry are not in a position to feed their families. So the government must come forward and provide them succor at this difficult time,” Bhalla observed. “A relief package for the sector including resumption of commercial transportation and a genuine fare hike in the wake of fuel prices and COVID-19 pandemic should be considered. Their demands should be accorded a positive consideration also because of huge losses suffered by them due to prevailing lockdown,” Bhalla said.
Prominent among those present included DCC General Secretary Urban Vijay Singh Chib, DCC General Secretary Urban Aman Bawa, Balwinder Singh Rinku, Vijay Khajuria Viju, Surinder Singh Raina, Manpreet Singh, Rajinder Singh Raina, Balwant Singh Raina, Kesar Singh Sudan, Daljeet Singh, Harvinder Singh, Surinder Singh beside others.