Sharing the popular concern of the people of Jammu province in the wake of imposition of Jiziya type Toll Tax, IkkJutt Jammu warned the authorities to withdraw it forthwith or get ready to face an agitation.
Ankur Sharma Chairman IkkJutt Jammu flanked by Avinash Choudhary Chairman Border Welfare Organisation, Balbir Singh, Chairman 2×2 Bus Union Jammu Province; K.D Singh President 2×2 Bus Union (Kathua-Udhampur Katra); Mohinder Singh President Jammu-Poonch 2×2 Bus Union; Rakesh Choudhary President Businessmen Association Sainik Colony; Kuldip Singh (Jammu-Kathua 2×3 Bus Union); Suram Singh Secretary Mini Bus Union Bari Brahmana-Vijaypur; Raghubir Singh Raya Suchani Mini Bus Union; Vijay Sharma General Secretary All J&K Bus Welfare Association said that the imposition of toll tax in Jammu is a wilful move on the part of the authorities to wreck Jammu’s economy by discouraging pilgrims to the holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.
They emphasized that it had become the habit of the powers that be to impose such taxes again and again to cripple the Hindu majority Jammu’s economy. He said that the recent decision of the Govt of India to impose heavy toll tax at different places on National Highway 44 leading to Katra is an extension of the policy which was adopted by the PDP-BJP Govt. In 2015 under which 12.5 percent Jiziya was imposed on Chopper services to the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, Baba Amarnath and other Hindu religious places. This Hindu discriminatory attitude of Govt is utterly unacceptable, said Ankur Sharma.
Ankur Sharma further said that the manner in which the NHAI has flouted its own rules to impose anti-Hindu toll tax is glaringly evident. It should be known that the distance between the two toll plazas and from the Municipal limits concerned is a clear indication that the intentions of the authorities are not novel. How could the NHAI set up and propose to set up four toll plazas within a distance of less than 80 K.Ms on the same NH 44?
Ankur Sharma said that the distance between two poll plazas- Sarore and Ban Toll Plazas is not even 50 kilometers and the distance between the Municipal limits of Bari Brahmana and Sarore is not even two kilometers. This is a clear violation of the laid down rules of NHAI as the distance between two toll plazas according to section 8 of the National Highway Fee (determination of rates and Collection) Rules, 2008 cannot be less than 60 K.M and the distance from the Municipal or local town area limits cannot be less than 10 K.M . Ankur Sharma further explained that the mandatory distance of 60 K.M could be tweaked for “reasons to be recorded in writing” and declared that “We Want these reasons to be made public”. Apparently the reason seems to be hatred towards Jammu.
IkkJutt Jammu Chairman accused the authorities of pursuing the same old policy of religious persecution against Hindu majority Jammu province. He said that Govt must explain why it proposed to set up five toll plazas in Jammu and only One in the already rather pampered & 100 per cent Muslim Kashmir. That the Govt. has planned to loot the people of Jammu province and pilgrims to the holy shrines to the tune of Rs. 142 Crores p.a only serve to re-establish that even under the new dispensation things for the non-Muslims have not changed and the same old Islamic hegemony continues to rule the roost in Jammu and Kashmir.
Ankur Sharma said that the people of Jammu province have already been contributing to the state exchequer over 75% revenue and the imposition of additional saffron Jiziya in the form of heavy toll tax will further add to the woes of the already suffering people of Jammu.
Ankur Sharma said that NHAI in its Press Conference dated 15.10.2019 had brought to the notice of the Public that it is not the NHAI but Government of India which has taken a decision to install Toll Plaza at Thandi Khui. Government of India needs to explain that when there is no UT where there is a functional Toll Plaza, why Jammu Kashmir has been singled out in the given case.