Transporters have no resources at the back-end as all their payments are stuck. Thousands of people associated with the transport sector are forced under greater pressure and multi-fold challenges, leading them towards untold mental anxiety and financial distress. They could foresee a worsening of the situation in the very near future. They are the people who ferry other people and goods from one town to another. Or for that matter transport people from one part of the city to another part of the city. They are in bad financial health right now. In the times of global pandemic and the subsequent lock-down in Jammu and Kashmir these transporters are finding it hard to make two ends meet.
According to fresh assessment, the daily losses to the transport industry have mounted to about Rs 1,000 crore per day, which are rising further with intensity and duration of the pandemic-induced lockdowns and curbs. The all these transporters are demanding at the movement is proactive step from the government such as on moratorium on equated-monthly installment (EMI) payments, tax and insurance waiver and extension in e-way bill validity to avoid imminent financial crisis min the industry. Let us start with the people we call the ” Sumo waalas’. They brought about a revolution in the inter-district transport in late 90s and the journey from front-line districts of Kashmir to the capital was reduced from the earlier 5-6 hours to a mere 2-3 hours. Transporters have done a great service to our valley. Unfortunately, almost all of them have to buy a new car as the older one wears out soon owing to constant drive distances of 200 to 300 kilometres per day. Most of them buy new vehicles on loan.
It was all going well and most of them had recovered from the financial losses incurred due to the situation since 2019. However, the Covid lock-down brought the entire transport sector in doldrums. Hardly any vehicle ply post Augu. There are families borrowing daily grocery items from their neighbours. They cannot pay the school fee of their children. The constant joblessness is making the financial condition of the transporters stare at a cul de sac. The government needs to chalk out a strategy to ensure that the transporters are able to not only to make their daily needs meet but also to pay off the loans and make enough savings for their children’s education.