Jammu: National Conference Provincial President Devender Singh Rana on Tuesday sought exemption of toll tax during the upcoming Shri Amarnathji Yatra in the Jammu region also.
“There seems no justification for levying toll tax at various toll posts from Lakhanpur to the base camps of Baltal and Pahalgam while exempting at a particular Toll Plaza”, Mr Rana said in a statement, adding that the pilgrims thronging from various parts of the country are required to pass several toll posts before entering into the Valley. He said instead of taking a lopsided decision the overall scenario should have been taken into consideration before ordering the exemption.
The Provincial President hoped that the administration will take a call on this important issue earnestly, as the yatra is beginning from July 1. This, he said, will go a long way in streamlining traffic by cutting huge jams at various toll collection centres besides providing respite to the travelling public.
Rana said pilgrim tourism has emerged as a sustainable economic activity in the entire state and every incentive is needed to be provided to the visiting people to give fillip to it. He said he had been insisting on waiving toll at various collection centres from Lakhanpur to the holy township of Katra, the base camp of Mata Vaishno Devi, as nearly ten million pilgrims are visiting the shrine 24×7 round the year. He said the pilgrim tourism virtually sustained the economy during most difficult times in nineties and provided sustenance to a huge population.
“Unless incentivized, the tourism as also pilgrim tourism cannot flourish to the satisfactory level”, Rana said, adding the administration should come out with a package in this regard to promote activity in scenic and spiritually blessed state.
“To begin with, we urge Governor Satya Pal Malik, who is also Chairman of the Boards managing Amarnathji and Mata Vaishno Deviji Yatras, to pass on instructions for toll exemption during the upcoming yatra in the Jammu region”, Rana demanded.