Notwithstanding the issuing of fare lists by the state Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) to curb over charging by private operators, the buses plying on Jammu-Katra route are openly looting the commuters by charging hefty extra fare overtly.
As the Jammu-Katra route is the busiest route of the Jammu region having lakhs of commuters travelling round the clock to pay obeisance at world famous Vaishno Devi shrine, the private bus operators use to charge additional fare over the fare which is mentioned in the list prepared by the concerned MV department.
Even the concerned MVD department when approached and informed by the Newspoint bureau admitted that the bus operators are overcharging on the said route brazenly besides assured that a stern action will be taken against the defaulters soon.
The semi deluxe 35 seater private buses who use to ply on Jammu-Katra route from Bus stand are charging Rs 60 as a fare from the commuters while their fare has been fixed at Rs 48.00 per passenger only. Even these private bus owners forcibly charge Rs 60 from every passenger whether he/she is having seat or not.
Relevant to mention here that this is going on brazenly and many times the local commuters have been seen arguing with the conductors of these buses for over charging them as even there is no fare fixed at Rs 60 by the MVD.
As these private bus operators knows that most of the passengers who use to travel Katra are outsiders going to pay obeisance at Vaishno Devi and on being outsider they don’t have any knowledge about the local fare rates taking advantage of which they over charge them.
Due to the negligence of the MVD, this overcharging by bus operators on Jammu-Katra route is being done by long past as despite being the prominent road route of the region and even in state the department has never took pain to check any such wrong doing by the bus operators
As per the list available on MVD website the fare from Jammu to Katra which is 48 kilometers is Rs 48 for semi deluxe 35 seater buses, Rs 67 for Delux 2×2 27 seater buses, Rs 80 for super deluxe coaches and Rs 106 for air conditioned coaches.
It is clearly visible that there is no mentioning of Rs 60 as a fair in any category while the buses which move from bus stand Jammu to Katra are semi deluxe busses then how they charge Rs 60 as fare per passenger.
Station House Officer (SHO) Bus Stand Jammu Abid Rafiqi when contacted and asked whether there is any complaint regarding the overcharging on Jammu-Katra he said that till date no such complaint has been lodged by any passengers adding that most of the passengers on this route are tourists unaware of the local fares besides being outsiders they usually avoid wasting their time in these sort of issues.
He further said that if any such complaint will be lodged in future he will definitely take stern action against the bus operators as this is open cheating and fraud with thousands of people at one go.
When contacted Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Jammu Ashwani Kumar Khajuria, he was shocked to know about this over charging and made clear that these buses can charge only Rs 48 per passenger as their fair is fixed as 100 paisa per passenger per kilometer and the distance between Jammu to Katra is only 48 Kilometers.