Employees Grounded As SRTC Bus Makes A Covid Halt

by Idrees Bukhtiyar

SRINAGAR:  Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) on Thursday said it has suspended its services on the Uri-Baramulla route for the government employees.

“We will not operate our buses on the Uri-Baramulla route from tomorrow. We have been asked by the Baramulla Police to obtain the permission first,” said Ravi Raj Singh, Incharge Depot JKSRTC Baramulla.

The suspension of service will cause a lot of inconvenience to the government employees travelling to Baramulla on a daily basis to attend their offices in these tough times.

“We couldn’t get the service this evening from Baramulla back to Uri. We were told by the JKSRTC officials that the service has been suspended now onwards,” said a Power Development Department (PDD) employee wishing not to be named. “Scores of employees travel to Baramulla to attend to their duties and not everyone has their own personal vehicle. If the bus service is suspended, can authorities tell us how we can reach our offices on a daily basis and at a time when they have issued us the curfew passes too.”

Another employee of the R and B department said that they had expressed gratitude to LG Manoj Sinha for starting the bus service on the stretch after a month-long suspension due to Covid19 lockdown. “But now we have been left in the lurch. Either the authorities should cancel our duties or must arrange some transportation, accommodation facilities in Baramulla for us,” he said.

The JKSRTC had started the bus service for the government employees a week back on Uri-Baramulla for their comfort after receiving complaints from the employees regarding the absence of any public transport available.

On Thursday morning, Police Station Sheeri took two buses of JKSRTC in their custody. According to police, buses were found violating the Covid19 Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs).

“If they think the Covid19 norms are being violated then why have they deputed the duty magistrates on the multiple spots? It is their duty to check the buses,” the employee said.

A JKSRTC employee said that the authorities have been telling us that public transport can ply on the roads with a 50 per cent seating capacity. “Then why are we being stopped. We can’t operate with only a few employees and who will pay our losses later,” he said.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Baramulla Rayees Mohammad Bhat said, “They have not been following SOPs and buses are not allowed in Red districts. They are supposed to operate 50 per cent but they have been going for more than a hundred per cent.”

When asked about the suspension of bus service, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Baramulla Mohammad Ahsan Mir said that he was not aware of it. “I will look into the matter,” he said.

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