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Toll tax in Jammu, no toll tax in Kashmir!
5/15/2019 11:34:55 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, May 15: J&K was brought under the direct control of Governor on June 19, 2019, when the BJP in a dramatic manner withdrew its support to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. It was then believed that the authorities in the state and at the Centre will end discrimination with Jammu and treat all the three regions of the state equally in all spheres and at all levels.
However, what has happened is to the contrary. The authorities continue to make unjust, humiliating and invidious distinctions between the people of Kashmir and Jammu, besides all other Indians. The latest example of gross discrimination with Jammu and policy of naked appeasement is the official toll tax policy.
The people of Jammu and all other Indians, including over 1 crore pilgrims to the holy shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, have been paying toll tax at the Nagrota Toll Plaza since years and the rates are quite high as compared to other parts of the country. The rate is Rs 135 for single journey for light vehicle and Rs 200 for to and fro journey.
As for Kashmir, the rate of toll tax is Rs 85 for single journey and the people of Kashmir have raised a banner of revolt against the Government of India, saying the imposition of toll tax could adversely affect their economic life. The NC, the PDP and many others in Kashmir have opposed the imposition of toll tax in Kashmir. Former MLA Er Rashid has even gone to the extent of saying that the toll tax is violation of Article 370 and a move aimed at eroding the state's special status.
The opposition in Kashmir to the toll tax had its impact on the Governor administration and the nature of the impact could be gauged from the fact that it was none other than the Governor himself who has assured the local people that they will not be subjected to toll tax and that he has taken up the issue with the Union Surface Ministry Nitin Gadkiri. He has also told them that it is the ongoing election process that has been causing delay.
The worst of the whole situation is that the BJP, like other parties including the Congress, the NC and the PDP, is maintaining a stony silence with the people of Jammu chaffing and seething with anger.
It would be only desirable if the authorities adopt a uniform toll tax policy for the whole state.
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