: The All Kerala Contract Carriage owners and Operators Association has criticised the government’s decision to “exorbitantly” hike motor vehicle tax, which the association feared would destroy the public transport sector.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, the association office-bearers warned that they would resort to strong agitation measures if the government failed to revoke the increase in tax.

The association, which registered its protest against the increase in the annual insurance premium of vehicles, also expressed concern over the frequent rise in the price of diesel.

The association called for an end to alleged harassment of motor vehicle workers by road transport authorities. It sought strict action against illegal taxi operators and those operating unlawful rent-a-car services.

K. Sethumadhavan, association office-bearer, said the government had increased the vehicle tax without any regard for its declared policy to protect the public transport sector.

“The increase is from five-fold to over 10-fold,” said Mr. Sethumadhavan, who maintained that in place of Rs. 1,360, a person who now starts a taxi service would have to pay several lakhs of rupees as vehicle tax to the government. “Not even a single tourist taxi has been registered since April 1 in the State owing to this situation,” said M. Shijil Kumar, office-bearer of the association.

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