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3.5K pvt buses to go off road in Himachal

Around 3,500 buses plying across Himachal will come to a halt from tomorrow due to an indefinite strike by the private bus operators’ union to protest alleged lack of support by the state government during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The union had threatened to observe strike a couple of times earlier also, but those decisions were withdrawn at the last moment following assurances from the government. “We are fed up with empty assurances from the government. Now, there’s no way left for us but to halt our buses,” said union president Rajesh Parashar.

The bus operators have been demanding special road tax exemption and Rs 2-lakh working capital to tide over the financial crunch. “The government has reduced the tax by 50 per cent for April, May and June, but there’s no word on August-March tax. We feel cheated,” he said.

“Only 30 per cent buses were in operation during August-March. There is a clause on tax exemption in case the bus did not ply, but the government is not allowing us relief. On the other hand, it is doling out liberal financial aid to the HRTC,” he alleged.

“Our business has taken a hit due to the Covid pandemic, but there’s no reduction in our liabilities, including loan repayment, insurance, vehicle maintenance and taxes,” he added.

In the absence of any support from the government, many private bus operators were finding it difficult to make both ends meet, he claimed. “Many of them have started working under the MGNREGA scheme, while many others have taken to selling fruits and vegetables,” he said. “One of the operators committed suicide when the financier took away his bus due to the non-payment of loan instalments,” he added.

news  reference from The Tribune

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