Hyderabad: Led by Telangana State Cabs & Bus Operators Association (TSCBOA) President Syed Nizamuddin, over 100 leading transport operators held a novel protest at the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) office at Khairtabad on Thursday by offering flowers to the officials.
They demanded that the State Government waive off Motor Vehicle Tax for two quarters for the contract carriage vehicles and Maxi Cabs in view of lockdown.
“In view of lockdown norms, transport operators gathered in small numbers at the RTA office. All of us maintained physical distance and all of us were wearing masks. Instead of slogan shouting or resorting to traditional protest, we gave flowers to the officials requesting them to consider our demand on humanitarian grounds,” informed TSCBOA President Nizamuddin.
The police prevented the operators from entering the RTA office. However, RTA Joint Commissioner Pandu Ranga Naik, Additional Commissioner Ramesh Kumar and other officials came out to receive the representation from the operators.
Speaking to media persons later, Nizamuddin said that despite the country entering into the Unlock-1 stage, the entire transport industry was still under undeclared lockdown. He said neither the corporate companies and IT firms were hiring their vehicles nor the buses and cabs were being engaged for the purpose of tourism.
“Our vehicles are gathering dust at our garages and there are no clear signs of restoration of normalcy for business at least till September end. Almost all of us have exhausted our savings to pay salaries, EMIs, rents and other utility bills. We are just trying to stay afloat with the hope that things will become normal again,” he said.
The TSCBOA President said that the transport operators were left with no money to pay advance Motor Vehicle Tax. He said many State Governments like Punjab, Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Rajasthan, Pondicherry and Kerala have provided relief to the industry by giving exemptions in MV Tax for operators.
He said the entire transport industry in Telangana would collapse if the State Government does not come to its rescue. He said that the operators were not having any business since March 22, the day when Janta Curfew was observed which was later converted into full-fledged lockdown.
Nizamuddin feared that over 5 lakh people would lose their jobs if the transport industry continues to face neglect by the State Government.
He said it was highly unfortunate that the State Government was not responding to several requests made by the representative unions.
The TSCBOA chief said that the transport operators would intensify their agitation if they don’t get the required relief.
He warned that the operators would park all their vehicles before the RTA offices and District Collectorates across Telangana if their demands are not met. (INN)