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In absence of any vigil by the traffic authorities, the buses and other passenger vehicles here resort to heavy overloading at the cost of passengers’ life.

The menace is rampant on Lolab-Kupwara and Jugitiyal-Kupwara roads, the locals said.

Jugitiyal residents alleged that the Sumo drivers do not leave the local stop until they get at least 14 passengers for Kupwara.

The overloading creates more inconvenience to the girl students commuting daily to attend their schools in Kupwara town, they said.

"Most of the drivers do not follow any rules. They do not leave the local stop until they are overloaded," Shabir Ahmad Khan of Jugitiyal village.

"The drivers enjoy a field day in absence of any vigil by the traffic or police authorities. We have never seen police or traffic cops taking action against them even though we have brought the matter to the notice of local transport office," he added.

The locals fear the overloading may cause accidents as well.

"The buses remain over-loaded. Yet they stop after every two kilometres to take more and more passengers," said Nighat Akther, class XII student from Sogam, who is enrolled in a school in Kupwara.

The women commuters complained there were no separate seats for them in the public transport. Lolab residents demanded action against erring drivers.

"The overloading has become a menace," said Bashir Ahmad Tantary, a Lalpora village resident.

Assistant regional transport officer (ARTO) Kupwara Mukhtar Ahmad Sofi said, "The drivers found guilty of overloading will be dealt with under law and overcrowding will not be allowed whatever the circumstances."

He said: "We have cancelled license of some drivers in the recent past and the drive against such drivers will continue in future as well," he added.

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