Srinagar, May 8: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Wednesday urged the incumbent governor administration to suspend levying of toll tax on Srinagar –Jammu highway at Charsoo toll plaza near Awantipora, saying that the highway is still incomplete with some bridges still under construction activity in Kashmir has hit its lowest ebb in the last four years and the decision of levying in exorbitant toll tax will inadvertently put the people to duress.
Party spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar while expressing dismay over the decision said, “Notwithstanding the low economic activity in the valley, the construction of Jammu -Srinagar highway is still going on. Among others, the railway pass bridges and many lanes and some single lane bridges are still not complete. It is therefore unjust and unfair to levy taxes on people when the highway is not fully functional,” adding, “The state government must do an immediate review of the rates that are being levied on different vehicles at the newly inaugurated toll plaza. We therefore urge the governor administration to defer imposing toll tax.”
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday pitched for the exemption of toll tax being levied on the vehicles in South Kashmir, stating that such a measure is hitting the already economically downtrodden people hard.
In a statement issued here, PDP Vice President Abdul Rahman Veeri said that people from south Kashmir in general and from Kulgam and Anantnag, in particular, are bearing the brunt of such a measure as there are private as well as the government employees who will have to pass through the toll plaza set up at Charsoo and they are being asked to pay money every day.
“The government must exempt the people of south Kashmir and those employees who will have to report every day to their duties and for that reason have to pass through the toll plaza. This is nothing but an octroi being levied on people’s movement. The government has to roll it back,” Veeri said.
Meanwhile, State Secretary CPI (M) Ghulam Nabi Malik has said that the decision of Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to levy toll tax from local vehicles at a newly-established toll plaza on Srinagar-Jammu highway in Sangam area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district is a harsh move and must be revoked immediately.
In a statement CPI (M) leader Ghulam Nabi Malik said that the toll tax shall be collected from only outsiders and not from local people.
“Such a harsh move will have a tremendous impact on trade and commerce and as such shall be done away with immediately,” Malik said.
“People in Kashmir are already bearing the brunt of the ban on the movement of vehicles on the highway and the new measure will cripple the already fragile economy of the Valley further,” he said.
“The transporters, who have taken their vehicles on loans from different financial institutions and are paying heavy interests, are suffering huge losses due to the prevailing situation in Kashmir. The new measure of charging heavy tax from them will be a huge burden on them,” he added.
“If the order is not revoked, the transporters will increase the fare, which will be a burden on poor people. We assure the transporters and common people of our full support to protest against this arbitrary decision,” said CPI (M) leader in a statement.