Sopore bans Kashmir’s last-surviving tonga rides

The traditional horse-carts, or the tongas, have been banned in the municipal areas of Sopore town as the administration has decided to do away with these rides for the purpose of decongestion.

The authorities in Sopore sub-district said the tongas had become a primary source for frequent jams in the town.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Sopore, Pervaiz Sajad Ganai told The Kashmir Walla the decision to ban tongas was taken “in order to decongest the area”.

“Tongas were responsible for the frequent traffic jams. So, we took the move in order to save the locals from the accidents,” Ganai said.

He also said that the locals had previously submitted several grievances to Lieutenant Governor’s office saying that the traffic in the town remains frequently jammed.

Yaseen Ahmad Khan, 36-year-old resident of Sopore town, said that the tongas made it difficult for the pedestrians to walk on the road. “It is a good move taken by the government as it was the reason for frequent traffic jams,” he said.

Sopore, the main apple-producing area of Kashmir valley, was also famous for being one of the last towns of the region where tongas were still in use.

Ganai, the ADC Sopore, said the town had approximately 300 to 400 tongas. He said that the authorities have also shifted the vendors in order to ensure smooth traffic movement. “This move is taken for the betterment of the people” he said.

He also said that the ban is only in the municipal limits of Sopore town. In the rural areas, Ganai said, the tongas have been alloted alternative routes. (TKW)

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