Kashmir Indepth

Transport sector badly hit by COVID-19 lockdown in Kashmir

Suhail Khan

Srinagar, June 1 (KINS): Amid COVID-19 lock down, the transport sector in Kashmir has been badly hit with people associated with this sector finding it hard to feed their families.

Transportation sector has been one of the primary victims of COVID-19. From rickshaw pullers, sumo drivers, all have been affected economically by the pandemic in Kashmir.

“We don’t have money even to buy medicines. We (transporters) have not earned a single penny for last three months. Unlike transporters, other sectors like shopkeepers are at least making some earning by opening their shops in the morning and evening hours. Nobody is concerned about us. We have been left at the mercy of God,” said Tahir Ahmad, a sumo driver.

Chairman Rekipora Kupwara Sumo Stand Drivers Association, Mumtaz Ahmad said transporters are facing immence problems due to lockdown.

“ The transporter sector has been totally ignored. There are 1300 sumos plying in Kupwara and nobody is bothered about us how we feed our families,” he told news agency KINS.

He appealed the Lieutenant Governor administration to pay attention towards the transporter sector. “Various sectors have been given some package but we have been totally ignored. We are being forced to come to the streets,” he added.

Jammu and Kashmir administration has announced a Rs 350-crore package to mitigate hardships of people, particularly labourers and the destitute, during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.

“This lockdown has put a driver like me in deep trouble. It is very difficult for us to feed our families,” said Mohammad Subhan, a sumo driver.

These days he is sitting idle at home. “I debited Rs 1000 from one of relatives that have been exhausted,” he added.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P K Pole when contacted told KINS  that the government was aware of the problems faced by the people associated with transport sector.

“Government is taking measures for people from across the country. The government has announced a package and will see whether some amount can be provided to transport sector,” Pole said. (KINS)

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