Hyderabad: The Telangana State Cabs and Bus Operators Association (TSCBOA) on Thursday demanded that the State Government announce a relief package for the contract carriage buses and maxi cabs by granting exemptions in payment of Motor Vehicle Tax State in view of huge losses being suffered by them due to ongoing lockdown.
Led by TSCBOA President Syed Nizamuddin, a delegation of transport operators called on Principal Secretary of Transport Department Sunil Shama at his office and urged that the operators be given exemption from payment of Advance Tax for Contract Carriage Buses till September this year.
“Our industry is facing the worst ever crisis. While we suffered huge losses due to lockdown as all our vehicles remained stranded for nearly two months. We did not receive any dues from our clients as their businesses too were shutdown due to lockdown.
Despite such a grim situation, we honoured the request made by Prime Minister Narender Modi and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and paid salaries to the drivers and staff of our organisation during the lockdown period,” Syed Nizamuddin said.
The TSCBOA President said that due to prolonged lockdown for over two months, the operators were not in a position to pay the salaries, rents for offices and garages or meet other administrative expenses for the current and future months.
He also complained that the operators were being harassed by the banks and NBFCs despite the Reserve Bank of India announcing a moratorium of 3 months for the payment of Instalments. “We are also facing the threat of payment of huge interest which got accumulated due to non-payment of instalments at the prescribed time,” he said.
Syed Nizamuddin pointed out that some States have announced relief to the transport sector in view of lockdown. For instance, the Punjab Government slashed tax on per kilometre travel for non-AC buses and vehicle owners were allowed to pay tax arrears by June 30 without penalty or interest.
The Odisha Government exempted Road Tax for passenger buses for April, May and June. The Government of Kerala has also exempted Motor Vehicle Tax for stage carriages for the quarter commencing from 1st April, 2020, he said.
The TSCBOA president urged the State Government to announce a similar relief for the transport sector by granting exemption of MV Tax for two quarters. “This will help us in sustaining the crisis and it will provide a breather for us to revive our operations.
We also need to make huge investments to comply to the new conditions in view of Coronavirus to make our vehicles safe for the passengers,” he said.
They explained that the operators were unable to submit the documents of Non Use of vehicles since March 22 during the first four phases of lockdown till May 31.
During the lockdown period, the Road Transport Authority was not fully functional and many officials were not available during the first three phases of lockdown. “As per the procedure, to keep the vehicle under Non Use- Before the ending of the quarter the owner has to submit all the documents along with an application to the concerned RTO and inform the place where the vehicle will be kept at the Non Use Period.
In the present scenario, the vehicles were stopped where ever they were due to immediate announcement of complete lockdown and the documents were either in some vehicles, offices or with the drivers. Further, those documents could not be submitted as there was no concerned responsible person in any of the RTO offices.
The owners or their representatives were also not able to reach any of the RTA offices due to lockdown,” they said.
They also reminded that the Govt of India, under Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has on dt. 30-03-20 extended the validities of Fitness, Permit (All types) and DL, Registration to be treated as valid till 30th June -2020.
“It would be unfair on the part of State Government to collect Advance Road Tax for the vehicles which remained unused during the lockdown period. The movement of vehicles has been eased only from 1st June.
But we already lost most of our business due to decrease in usage of our vehicles due to lockdown norms, huge retrenchment of employees in the IT sector and complete shutdown of tourism sector. A limited number of vehicles are being run by a select few operators with huge losses,” he said. (INN)