The Valley’s new highway toll plaza doesn’t seem to have gone down well. Made operational on Tuesday, the new toll tax for the Jammu-Srinagar Highway, is being seen as an attempt to “choke Kashmir’s economy”.
Trading groups in the state have demanded the revocation of the new toll, collected at Anantnag. A single journey for a four-wheeler costs Rs 85, while a return ticket costs Rs 130.
Terming the imposition as “fleecing”, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) Chairman Muhammad Yasin Khan called demanded that it be retracted. “.Such taxes will only add to miseries through fleecing,” he said.
Mirroring the sentiment, the Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Union said, “levying road tax is another form of suppression of Kashmiris aimed at choking and crippling them on the economic front.”
“This is nothing but an octroi being levied on people’s movement. The government has to roll it back,” People’s Democratic Party(PDP) Vice President Abdul Rahman Veeri said in a statement.
The administration however, said on Wednesday that people living within 20 kilometers on both sides of toll plaza would not have to pay and that they would be issued passes for free movement. J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday confirmed the move saying, “We have taken up the issue with the Centre [government]. There won’t be any toll tax on the locals…”