The ban of public transport on two days in a week on Srinagar- Jammu highway ban has hit scores of sumo taxi drivers in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.
Scores of sumo taxi drivers running on different routes complained that during the past two weeks the ban has caused significant reduction in their earnings.
A sumo driver Nisar Ahmad, running his passenger vehicle on Pulwama-Awantipora road said that the recent ban of public transport on Sunday and Wednesday has badly impacted them. He said that the ban has caused a fifty percent reduction of passenger.
He said claimed to have been waiting for passengers to board his vehicle since morning and at 11:30 only two passengers boarded his taxi. "Remaining seven seats are vacant," he said, adding that it was his first trip of the day. He said on usual days he makes three to four trips to and fro by this time but on Wednesday and Sunday he barely gets passengers for a single trip. Other drivers who were running on the route have same tales to tell.
"On the ban days only thirty to fourth percent passengers board on our vehicles which has hurt our business" Nisar Ahmad a poor sumo driver who claimed have no other source of income, said.
Alamdar sumo taxi stand president Mohd Hussain said that even on unbaned days our vehicles are stopped for hours due to convoy movement.
He said around 600 vehicles running on different routes of the district are already in losses due to frequent shutdowns in the Pulwama . "The ban of public transport on highway has added to our misries," he said.
Anantnag sumo stand near shaheed park Pulwama has around 20 vehicles registered with it . Ulfat Ahmad, president of Anantnag sumo stand said that hardly two to three sumo taxis are able to get passengers on Pulwama -Anantnag route during these two banned days. "Other sumo taxi drivers remain ideal," he said.
He also said that to reach Anantnag they have to take an alternative route via Kulgam which is 15 kilometer lengthy than the usual route.
"The passengers pay us usual fare when we incur more expenses," he said.
The drivers community said that authorities exempted a class of highly paid employees from the ban but made poor drivers to bear the brunt.