STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: The private passenger bus services along the Jammu-Pathankot Highway remained suspended for the fifth consecutive day on Friday to protest against the newly set up toll plaza in Samba district. However, the people in other parts of the Jammu region heaved a sigh of relief as All J&K Passenger Transporters Association (AJKPTA) called off their indefinite strike after holding a meeting with a senior government official here. While the private passenger vehicles went off the roads along the Jammu-Pathankot Highway on Monday against the toll plaza at Sarore in Samba, the AJKPTA-sponsored indefinite ‘chakka jam’ hit normal life in the Jammu region on Thursday with commuters facing tremendous hardships in reaching their destinations. However, Jammu-Kathua Bus Association President Kuldeep Singh said they have decided to continue the strike till their demand for abolishment of the toll tax at Sarore is not met. “We want removal of the toll post because it is an additional burden on transporters, particularly the buses plying on the Jammu-Kathua highway,” Singh said. The toll plaza at Sarore was inaugurated by NHAI on October 11, drawing a strong protest from the people from all sections of the society and political parties including the BJP which had written a letter to the Union Transport ministry seeking abolishment of the toll plaza. Congress, National Conference, Panthers Party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other groups have also demanded abolishment of the toll plaza. “We are being charged Rs 225 for one side crossing and are not in a position to pay toll tax given the increase in insurance, permit, fine on traffic violations and fuel prices,” Singh said, requesting the state administration to consider their demand.
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