As the covid 19 cases surge with every passing day in the valley, transporters, particularly Sumo drivers plying on various major and link roads in southern districts are not giving damn to the guidelines of physical distancing in seating.
From last one week, Sumo drivers are back on most of the major and link roads in south Kashmir including Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian.
However, these transporters, in brazen violation of SOPs are loading their cabs even beyond the capacity risking the lives of the passengers who too refuse to wear masks. This reporter saw dozens of Sumos over loaded with passengers on various busy roads in Anantnag and Kulgam.
“I boarded the Sumo near Mattan which was coming from Aishmuqam. Eight passengers were already travelling in it and only one was wearing a mask. I was seated next to the driver and asked him to wear the mask which he refused. On reaching near a police check post near Petrol pump i thought, policemen will check the overloading and fine the driver for violating guidelines but they did not even stop him,” said Showkat Ahmad who had to consult the doctor in Anantnag.
On his return, Ahmad said, he hired the auto rikshaw to home and paid him 150 rs.
Violation of physical distancing guidelines by these transporters are reported from other areas also.
Javed Ahmad, a resident of Bijbehara said that he had virtually fight with the Sumo driver for loading his vehicle with the ten passengers while travelling to Imamsahab Shopian.
“The driver left the stand in Bijbehara with five passengers. I asked him to charge the bouble but dont overload the cab. I also asked all the passengers to wear masks but none of them listened. Driver after moving ahead, driver also loaded his Tavera to the full. I got off the vehicle mid way and waited till a private car gave me a lift,” he said.
However , reports suggested that the cab drivers plying on Anantnag-Kokernag road are strictly following the guidelines and are not ferrying more than five passengers.
Citizens concerened over the rise in covid cases are apprehensive that violation of guidelines by transporters and the passengers not wearing masks during the travel will worsen the situation in days to come.
“No doubt transporters are the worst hit since last one year but they can not be allowed to be spreaders of the virus. Traffic authorities and police should keep a check on weather the transporters follow guidelines or not. They should also fine passengers without masks. If this goes unchecked situation will turn more ugly in times to come,” a social activist , Adil Shiekh.