Author Kashmir Life

Culture

A fading trot

Hamidullah Dar

Once a popular mode of transport connecting cities and towns in the valley, the Tonga or horse-cart has lost its sheen over the years – mainly due to proliferation of automobiles and in part due to apathy of authorities
While in Srinagar the Tonga has bitten the dust, in suburbs and towns, the vintage mode is still available. A horse driving a cart with the whipping driver standing in front and at least five passengers on the seats is partly visible on the streets in suburbs.
Although government tried to remove the Tongas from roads in towns owing to their obstructive speed and unusual stoppage, instead deciding to compensate the Tonga drivers by providing them vehicle permits and monetary benefits, the drivers are hardly impressed.

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Infrastructure

A long way to go

If occupancy is a criterion, Kashmir train service can be called a success, but limited runs by one train through stations poorly connected with main towns is more of an inconvenience than a facility. Hamidullah Dar reports.

Kashmir train service has proved economic for commuters when local transport fares are surging, but lack of facilities and proper connectivity to stations makes the travel long and cumbersome.
To 1500 passengers who use this train daily from Islamabad station to Srinagar and back, the journey gets upsetting once they step out of the train.
A ten rupee ticket for 50-kilometres seems a trifle but add five rupees from Islamabad station to main town and six rupees from Nowgam to Srinagar, it equals the bus fare for the journey. The buses, at least drop commuters in the city.

Business

A CBM Hijacked

Lured by waived custom duties, Delhi based traders are trying to infiltrate Cross LoC trade meant only for the two sides of Kashmir.  Hamidullah Dar reports.

 
The cross LoC trade in Jammu & Kashmir is experiencing a ‘hijack’ by traders from Delhi. That is at least what traders from Kashmir were contesting, forcing the custodian officer of Trade Facilitation Centre at Salamabad in Uri to send back 33 vehicles to Chakoti TFC on May 6.
The barter trade initiated between the two parts of Kashmir last year exempts traded goods from customs duty. Experts say that these tax concessions are luring the Delhi based traders to exploit the opportunity while keeping the locals at bay. 

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