STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: Private School Van Drivers on Tuesday staged a protest against the callous attitude of Government for imposing hefty fines and seizing their vehicles. Hundreds of Van Drivers assembled in front of the Divisional Commissioner Office, Rail Head complex and raised slogans in support of their demands. They expressed resentment against the Government and Traffic Department for harassing them besides not allowing them to run their vehicles. They further said that traffic police is seizing their vehicles and imposing Rs 10,000 as fine, which they are unable to pay. From our meager earnings, it is not possible to pay such huge fine, they added. Pertinent to mention here that the Traffic Police has recently issued a notification against the vehicles plying illegally for ferrying school children in violation of Supreme Court guidelines and Jammu Kashmir Motor Vehicle Act. As per the Supreme Court guidelines, all the school buses ferrying children should be painted yellow, fitted with a first-aid box, fire extinguisher, horizontal grills, reliable door locks, speed governor of specified standard, have space under seats for keeping school bags, etc. ‘School Bus’ must be written on back and front of the bus and if it is a hired one, ‘On School Duty’ board should be displayed clearly in the bus. Further, the name of school along with telephone number must also be written on the bus and there must be a qualified attendant to attend children in the vehicle. The van drivers reiterated that had they had already assured the Government that they would not violate any law or rule, but it is unfortunate that instead of finding a way, the authorities are hell bent to harass poor van drivers. Highlighting severity of the problem, one of the protesters said, “Our livelihood is hanging in air as we and our families are fully dependent on this work. Taking a sympathetic consideration of our situation, we hope that the administration will find an early solution to this problem.” They appealed to the Governor Satya Pal Malik to intervene in the matter and issue necessary instructions to the concerned for finding some viable solution, so that poor van drivers may not suffer.
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