J&K likely to cut sales tax on fuel

June 10th, 2008 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, June 10 (IANS) With the transporters’ strike bringing daily life in Jammu and Kashmir to a standstill, the state government will likely reduce sales tax on fuel and rationalise public transport fare structure, an official said. A decision is likely to be taken after a meeting of state finance ministers in New Delhi on June 16, the official dealing with the issue told IANS, explaining that the state government would not be able to take any unilateral decision on the issue at the moment.

Meanwhile, the strike has crippled normal life. In the absence of public transport, the worst affected are government employees who need to commute to their places of work.

Also in a fix are pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine. Most come by train to Jammu and make a road journey to Katra, the base camp, where they are now stuck. Worse, there is no alternative arrangement for them to return to the Jammu railway station.

Those who were to return home by bus or taxi, now have to take the train. Consequently, the demand for reservation tickets has exceeded availability.

“We are helpless as we don’t have any means of accommodating them,” a railway official said.

“The government should have thought of some alternative arrangement for us,” said a furious Baldev Raj Sharma of Amritsar, who is stuck here with his wife and two children. “We are on the road and nobody is listening to us.”

Transporters said the strike would continue till the government reduced fuel prices and raised the bus fares.

Said transporter Tirlochan Singh Wazir: “We understand the difficulty the people are facing, but we cannot run our buses at a loss. We have already incurred huge losses.”

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