Intensifying their agitation seeking waiver of Motor Vehicle Tax for the contract carriage vehicles and Maxi Cabs in view of lockdown, the transport operators parked over one thousand buses on roads near the offices of Road Transport Authority across Telangana State on Monday. Several operators were later arrested by the Hyderabad police.
“We went to the RTA offices, along with our buses, to meet the authorities to surrender our vehicles for ‘Non Use’ as we are not in a position to pay Advance Tax. We’re trapped in a very bad situation. Almost all buses and cabs were parked in garages due to lockdown since March 22. The relaxations since 1st June did not help us as the IT industry, tourism and other related businesses are still shut and they are not hiring our vehicles. We may not have any business from the IT Sector till December end. But the State Government wants to pay MV Tax since April which is not only illogical, but unethical and inhuman. We’re are seeking waiver of MV Tax for the quarter from April-June and extension of deadline to surrender vehicles for ‘Non Use’,” explained Telangana State Cabs & Bus Operators (TSCBOA) President Syed Nizamuddin who led the protest along with other leaders Govind Raj and Gopal Reddy.
Nizamuddin said that as per rules, the operators need to pay tax, if they surrender a vehicle for ‘Non Use’. But they cannot surrender the vehicle if they’ve dues for previous quarters. “Since we had almost zero business since lockdown, we have no money to pay the tax for the quarter April-June. Now we will be forced to pay Advance Tax for the quarter July-September. All operators are willing to pay taxes for the buses which they operated. But it is highly immoral on the part for the government to seek taxes for vehicles which were not used at all,” he said.
The transport operators say that their industry contributes nearly Rs. 2,500 crore to the State’s economy every year. However, due to lockdown, today they are not in a position to pay MV Tax for a quarter which totals to nearly Rs. 10-15 Crore. “Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao should intervene into the matter and help the industry during this crisis to save nearly 5-6 lakh jobs,” they said.
The TSCBO president also condemned the arrest of transport operators by the police. He said the operators went to the RTA offices and parked the buses which they wished to surrender on one side of the road without causing any obstruction to the flow of the traffic. “We just wanted to meet the RTA officials and hand them over bus keys and documents. However, we were not allowed to enter the RTA offices and taken into custody by the police,” he said.
“It is highly condemnable that the State Government is not responding to our pleas for help while many other 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. CM KCR should consider our demand on humanitarian grounds. We will generate more income for the State in future only if we survive today. But the State Government is trying to throttle our industry by adopting a rigid stand,” he said.