Shaziya Khanam

Baramulla, August 19 : Passengers from different areas of south and central Kashmir on Tuesday complained that the public and transport operators have been overcharging them besides not following the SOPs in the Covid-19 pandemic.

People who are visiting Srinagar on daily basis said that they are charged around double the money they were paying earlier despite the vehicle operators carrying nine passengers in an SUV.

“Drivers are violating standard operating procedures (SOPs) by not maintaining social distance”, they added.

Feroz Ahmad, a resident of Sangam said, “despite carrying all passengers public transporters are charging double fares under the garb of fare hike and Covid-19.”

He added, “there was 30 percent fare hike and before Covid-19, fare from Sangam to Srinagar in a Sumo vehicle was 90 rupees, however we are now forced to pay 200 Rupees from Sangam to Srinagar.”

Tawseef Ahmad, another local from Bijbehara said, ” I used to pay Rs 10 in mini bus but they are now charging 20 and sometimes even 25 and still no Covid protocol is being followed.”

Similar voices were echoed from Chittergul, Shangus, Ashmuqam, Achanak, Dooru, Verinag, Kulgam, Khudwani, Zainapora Imamsahib, Shopian, Litter, Awantipora, Pampore, Chadoora, Chare Sharief and many other areas of south and central Kashmir districts.

Locals said, “they are aware that the transporters suffered a lot since last one year. It’s request to higher authorities to firm special checking teams which must work on all important routes to check over charging besides take action against the violators on SOPs.”