Pune: The Pune Bus Owners Association suffered heavy losses for the last three months due to lockdown, has now placed several demands on the governing authority to help and facilitate the bus operators by waiving several taxes and extending motor insurance coverage.
The association has several tourist buses, car, Taxi and school bus operators under its wings. On Tuesday, the association presented a letter to Dr Deepak Mhaisekar, Pune divisional commissioner, Ajit Shinde, regional transport officer (RTO), Pune and MLA Siddharth Shirole in the presence of Prasanna Patwardhan of Bus Operator Confederation of India, Balasaheb Khedekar of Pune District Luxury Bus Owners Association, Rajan Junawne, Kiran Desai and Dinesh Sonawne of Pune Bus Owners Association, Anna Gaikwad, Anna Baglane, Deepak Kalapure and Balasaheb Borate of Pimpri-Chinchwad Bus Owners Association.
Asserting that transportation is a crucial and important lifeline of the city as it caters to common man, students and corporate employees, the three-month lockdown due to the COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in a complete breakdown of the business. As a result, has triggered heavy losses to the tourist bus, car, taxi and school bus operators whose drivers, cleaners and office staff have been rendered jobless.
According to the letter, there are about 95,000 to 1 lakh tourist buses with about 1,5 lakh drivers and cleaners in Maharashtra, and tour operators have to pay the governing authority regularly tax, road tax and petrol tax, which amounts to about 4,500 crore per year. The bus owners while buying a bus also have to pay 18 per cent GST to the government as tax.
The association has demanded that as the lockdown has been eased and the transportation will again hit the road, the road tax, which the government collects, should be waived off for the next one year. As the operators are facing monetary losses, the motor vehicle insurance should also be increased for the next 6 months.
The association wants the authority to declare the association staff as Corona Warriors and give them an insurance of 50 lakh and also the interest charged by the banks on loans should be waived off for six months. It has also demanded that the government should offer a relief package to luxury bus owners and other operators.
The association has said that if the demands are not met within 7 days, then each bus operator will protest in front of the collector's office and Pune RTO by parking their busses.