Srinagar, Feb 14: A number of sumo drivers under the banner of Panthachowk Drivers Association on Monday staged a protest demonstration here against alleged misbehavior of a police officer with the office bearers of the union after a passenger complained of exorbitant fare.
The protesting drivers said that one of their fellows on seeking Rs 120 fare “fixed by the authorities” for a distance of 50 kilometers declined to pay it, claiming that fare was exorbitant. Subsequently, the issue reached the traffic authorities and an officer deployed at DPS School asked the driver to show the rate list.
“I told the officer that the fare as fixed by the RTO Kashmir was asked for from the passenger and showed him the rate list. Since our Association office is in the vicinity, the officer told me to bring the President here,” the driver, who was also among the protesters, told reporters at Press Enclave here.
The officer all of sudden slapped our President and tore the rate list,” the protesting drivers said and demanded an inquiry into the “highhandedness.”
General Secretary of the Association, who was also part of the protest, said that the rate list fixed by RTO Kashmir has been received by them through the office of Labour Commissioner. “We are charging as per the rate fixed by the concerned authorities. But traffic authorities are indulging in highhandedness and misbehaving with us,” he said and demanded “justice.” “Also drivers are unnecessarily challaned.
The traffic cops even don’t inform the driver why he is being challaned. This is injustice with us and that there should be an inquiry and subsequent action,” he added.
SSP traffic Srinagar Muzaffar Ahmad Shah for his comments on the alleged slapping and misbehavior with the drivers, he said: “If anything of this sort has happened, they should have approached my office.”
He said there has been a complaint regarding extra charging of fare by the drivers.
“We have protocols. They should have approached me. If anyone has acted wrongly, we have a mechanism departmentally to take action. There is a proper procedure which needs to be followed.” Asked if the rate sought by the drivers was in consonance with the rate fixed by the authorities, he said, “Here I want to clarify that one has to see if the rate list displayed by the drivers was one fixed during the covid-19 times. I have everything before me but someone has to come forward.” (gns)