Private bus operators to stop services during weekend curfew

Private bus operators across the State, who initially had planned to shut services during the weekend curfew, are now mulling to stop operating till May 4 in view of the government closing down all non-essential commercial activities and imposing hefty fine for not adhering to 50% occupancy rule on buses.

“It is nothing but complete lockdown and goes against what Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier said about being cautious on imposing lockdown,” said Karnataka Private Bus Owners Association president K. Rajavarma Ballal.

The association has already decided not to operate buses on two weekends; but Thursday’s government move to close down all non-essential commercial establishments has left the operators with no choice. A final decision will be taken by Monday, Mr. Ballal told The Hindu.

Dakshina Kannada Bus Owners Association president Dilraj Alva said that when there is no routine commercial activity and people are forced to remain home, there is no need to operate buses during weekdays. Operators have already decided to stop services during weekend curfew anyway, he added.

Mr. Ballal said that the government, which has mandated 50% occupancy on buses, has not waived or given concession in road tax. Operators are already overburdened with loan EMIs and increasing cost of inputs and the latest move will drive them to penury, he rued. The daily savings under the existing operating conditions itself does not cross ₹1,000 from which an operator has to bear other expenses, including EMI payment and insurance premium. “We want to surrender permits so that we can avoid payment of tax at least,” he said.

Added to these woes, operators are being penalised for carrying more than 50% of the sanctioned capacity of buses. “Does the government make good the operational losses,” he asked.

Association treasurer Kuyiladi Suresh Nayak said that the government did not respond to the plea for tax concession or waiver when he met officials on Thursday. In the present circumstances, it is difficult to continue operations as owners do not even recover the cost of diesel. The government which wants no inconvenience to the public did not give any via media to private operators while it supports road transport corporations in a big way, he said.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 5:07:52 AM |

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