Sindh Intercity transporters warn of protest if not allowed to resume operation from May 20

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The Sindh Intercity Bus Association has warned the provincial government that it will start their services on their own, if they were not allowed to resume operations after May 20

President Sindh Intercity Bus Association, Rab Nawaz, told The Newsthat if the government tried to forcibly stop them, they would park their vehicles on roads in Karachi and hold a protest.

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has announced that the transporters will be allowed to operate their buses three days after Eid.

Sindh Transport Minister Awais Shah, in a statement, had said they were working to formulate standard operation procedures (SOPs) so that public transport could function in the province immediately after the three days of Eid.

Shah said a four-point summary had been dispatched to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in this regard with the final approval resting with the chief minister.

However, Nawaz said they would not wait until Eid. “We are already suffering financially. We don’t have money to feed our kids,” he said, adding that after Eid, they would have no business.

“If we are stopped to operate after May 20, there will be a protest,” he said, adding that they have given two days to the provincial government to draft the SOPs.

When asked if they would be able to follow the SOPs, he responded that they could allow one passenger to sit with adjacent seats unoccupied. “But then we will have to charge more,” he said, adding that the Sindh government needed to agree with the transporters in which an increased bus fare had to be included.

The airlines, he pointed out, had been charging two to three times more than their usual fare as they have to enforce social distancing.

Nawaz said that on the directions of the Sindh government, they had stopped their operations on March 19.

“The provincial government assured us that if the federal government will permit them to ply intercity busses, they will comply with that,” he said. The federal government has now allowed the operations of intercity as well as intra-city transport in the country.

“Now even the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments have permitted the intercity and intra-city transporters to ply their buses,” he said, adding that the Sindh government should also immediately allow them to continue their operations.

He added the Sindh government announced a relaxation on tax. “What benefit will bus owners, employees, contractors and even the passengers will get with this relaxation?” he asked. The passengers, he said, had been paying additional taxes and moving upcountry in the current circumstances.

On the one hand, he said, the public transport had been completely shut down and, on the other hand, the alternative transport was plying on the roads.

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