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No 4G but Kashmir to get Ola, Uber like service soon

Srinagar: Though 4G internet has become a distant dream for Kashmir, the authorities have plans of starting radio taxi service on patterns of Ola and Uber in Jammu and Kashmir, services that require a high-speed internet connection to work smoothly.

Principal Secretary Transport, Asgar Samoon, Monday, said that radio taxi service will be started soon across Jammu and Kashmir in order to “strengthen” public transport system.

He however didn’t explain how the taxi service, which majorly relies on high-speed internet for pin-point navigation and booking, would work in Kashmir where 4G internet remains suspended for over nine-months now.

Samoon was chairing an officers’ meeting here convened to review establishment of IDTR (Institute of Driving Training and Research) at Kot Balwal and Budgam and ICC (Inspection and Certification Centre) at Harwan in Srinagar and at Samba in Jammu.

He said that radio taxi service “shall ensure better transport facility with safety of passengers besides creating employment avenues for locals”.

“Technocrats, drivers, owners of taxis and auto rickshaws will be roped in this service, which will operate through a Google enabled app on patterns of Ula and Uber services. Taxi service rules have been notified already and all related work is in progress to launch it soon in J&K,” said Samoon, as per an official press note released by Directorate of Information and Public Relations.

Directions were also passed by the Principal Secretary to the management of SRTC to ensure early procurement of new buses including electric-ones. He asked them to deploy bus services on various routes including Gurez, Ladakh and other remote areas to ensure better transport facility to the travelers.

During the meeting, Samoon directed concerned officers to expedite work on the projects and ensure that pending work on IDRT at Kot Balwal and ICC at Samba in Jammu is completed by June this year. He also asked district administration Srinagar and Budgam to ensure work on projects of IDRT at Budgam and ICC at Harwan in Srinagar is started at an earliest.

The Principal Secretary while taking detailed review of Road Safety Funds, emphasized on the deployment of all safety equipment including 110 bikes procured last year.

This year with the delay in the tendering process, Samoon said that an amount of Rs 10 crore as Road Safety Fund will be released to DCs Rs 50 lac each for road safety management in their districts.   He instructed for use of radons, identification of black sports, installation of cameras and other necessary equipment to avoid occurrence of accidents across the J&K.

Among others, the meeting was attended by Transport Commissioner, DC Budgam, MD SRTC, Director SMG, CE R&B,  Director Finance Transport, RTOs Jammu, Kathua, Kashmir, SSP Traffic Jammu, ADC Srinagar, Addl Secretary Road Safety Council, ARTO Samba, Budgam and other concerned.