Tourist taxi operators staged a dharna in Bangalore on Saturday seeking withdrawal of the decision on lifetime tax on vehicles.

They criticised the State government’s decision to impose a one-time tax at a rate of 1.5 per cent on registration of vehicles (with seating capacity of 5 + 1) costing Rs. 10 lakh and above, from April 1. This follows reports that private vehicles were being registered as taxis .

Members of the Bangalore Tourist Tax Operators’ Association said the move would increase the cost of travel, and urged the government to revert to the previous tax regime.

“Our demand to withdraw the new tax regime had been ignored so far. Even the Tourism Department is silent,” M. Ravi of Arjun Tours and Travels, said. “Several families have been opting for bigger vehicles for their travel. With this new tax regime, the cost of travel will shoot up,” he added.

Meanwhile, senior officials of the Transport Department, including Transport Commissioner Sham Bhat and Principal Secretary P.B. Ramamurthy, met the taxi operators and assured them of action. “They have promised that the process to address our concerns will start from Tuesday and the file will be placed before the Cabinet at the earliest,” Mr. Ravi added.

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