Transporters fleece commuters leaving for hometowns

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—Though government has announced four days Eid holidays from Tuesday, yet the residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have started leaving for their hometowns in advance to celebrate Eidul Fitr with their dear and loved ones. Bus stations at Pirwadhai and Faizabad were crowded with commuters on Saturday, complaining high fares charged by the transporters.
In normal days I used to pay Rs150 to go to my hometown in Chakwal, but now I have to pay Rs200, said a commuter at Faizabad bus stop, adding the overcharging is unjust as the government did not announce raise in the prices of petroleum for the month of July.
Other commuters at the bus stop said the government should take steps to ensure that the relief extended to the people in the form of not raising the petroleum prices reaches the commuters in full. On every Eid, the transporters enhance their fares but the concerned authorities remain oblivious to their duties to check this unjust trend, the commuters said.
Despite the high fares I am compelled to travel to my hometown on Eid as my children insist on spending the religious festival in their native village, said Azam Ali while leaving towards Bagh in Azad Kashmir, along with family members.
The transporters on the other hand told Pakistan Observer that the transporters are forced to charge higher fares from commuters during on the eve of Eid as they have to hire more busses and wagons at higher costs to meet the demands of such a large number of commuters.
Basit Ali who belongs to Manshera, said, Celebrating Eid in native places is also culturally significant as we also have to offer prayers for our departed family members on the eve of such religious festivals. He said that Eid provides a breathing space for people of the working class along with their children to spend some days in their native areas and present gift to their relatives.
While the markets are also glittering with shoppers, the shopkeepers in Islamabad were of the view that in the next couple of days, the city will start wearing a deserted look. Just before every Eid, deserted roads and markets is a common in Islamabad.

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