SRINAGAR, May 30: The State Government is vigorously pursuing rationalization in road use toll for the vehicles plying on Jammu-Udhampur stretch of National Highway and has deputed Commissioner Secretary Public Works to follow the matter with the Government of India.
On the instructions of Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, Minister for Public Works, Floriculture and Gardens & Parks, the Commissioner Secretary Public Works Mr. Rohit Kansal reached New Delhi where he called on Union Road Secretary to apprise him of the situation.
Pertinently, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has started levying fee for use of completed 4-lane sections of Jammu-Udhampur Section from Jammu Bypass to Udhampur in village Ban, as prescribed by the Union Government. However, taking a strong exception to the impact of levying grossly excessive Road Use Fee on transporters and other Truck/Bus and Taxi operators particularly dealing with tourism sector, the Minister for Public Works personally took up the matter with the Central Government and sought immediate intervention in rationalizing the road use toll.
The State Government has already made its stand clear that local bus/truck and taxi operators are genuine in their demand for reduction in National Highway Use Fee as most of their vehicles, not destined to Udhampur and beyond, ply only on partial distance of about 8 to 10 km on the 4-lane highway. It is purely in this context that the State Government took up the matter immediately with the Central Government for its early resolution for the convenience of transporters and the general public.
“This is more so important, as on the stretch most of the traffic plying carries tourists and pilgrims which form the backbone of the tourism industry in the State ,” Bukhari had observed during various meetings convened in this regard, adding that the majority of traffic on this route is for Shri Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage, which only takes off from the 4-lane National Highway.
The State Government is of the opinion that local habitation of this hilly region are poor people and are earning their livelihood by running small vehicles for tourists coming from throughout the country. In view of the suggestions made by the transporters and the general public, the State Government has proposed drastic reduction in the existing toll being charged from the transporters and other vehicle owners using the National Highway on this Jammu-Udhampur section.
The State Government is expecting a positive response from the Central Government within the shortest possible time in this regard.