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Ponywalas Agitate Against Fare System

on 2001/7/8 9:47:02 ( 1215 reads )


KATRA, INDIA, June 29, 2001: While several thousand pilgrims to the Mata Vaishno Devi outside Jammu fume and fret, a majority of the porters and ponywalas remain on strike, protesting the pre-paid fare system. Representatives of the Shrine Board, the Notified Area Committee and the pony contractor regulate the fare system. The prepaid system was introduced recently after officials received complaints from the pilgrims that they were either overcharged or harassed while trekking to the shrine, located on a mountainside. On some occasions porters and ponywalas would feign illness and drop the pilgrim halfway to get another customer at Katra. The ponywalas and porters struck work saying that they received delayed payments for the work they put in. At least 10 porters and ponywalas were injured yesterday when their rivals manhandled them for deciding to resume work.

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