Easing of curbs is no solace to Kozhikode’s private bus operators

Long days of disrupted service during the lockdown period has affected the ‘fitness’ of many private buses in Kozhikode district. Despite the eased regulations, it may take several weeks before they resume normal service. There is heavy rush in workshops, which in turn are witnessing a shortage of labourers for the repair works.

Replacement of components is putting a huge burden on the already ailing industry. Some bus operators are struggling to renew vehicle insurance. At least ₹70,000 will be required for the renewal of annual insurance for a 48-seat bus. Many of them have demanded waiver of vehicle tax, which comes to around ₹1.2 lakh a year.

“Only 750 out of the 1,260 private buses are in the field now, because of the increasing operational cost. The remaining bus owners have stopped services by submitting Form G to the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) in their attempt to save motor vehicle tax,” says M. Thulasidas, district general secretary, Kerala Bus Operators Association. He adds that owners of tourist buses have been hit the hardest.

Flak for new directive

Mr. Thulasidas says that the post-lockdown directive of the State government to streamline private bus services using ‘odd and even number method’ would add to the bus operators’ hardship. “The guideline was announced by the government all at a sudden without consulting the bus operators. We will protest against the unilateral decision which overlooks the employees’ struggle for survival,” he says.

Meanwhile, officials with the MVD say the State government will soon hold a discussion with the operators and find practical solutions to the complaints. A favourable announcement was likely by Friday evening, they said.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 2:49:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/easing-of-curbs-is-no-solace-to-kozhikodes-private-bus-operators/article34849594.ece

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