Government waives road taxfor public transport vehicles

Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister Laxman Savadi on Tuesday announced the government’s decision to waive road tax for public transport vehicles — goods as well as passenger — for a period of two months from March 24 to May 23. In a statement, Mr. Savadi said that the government has considered the Lockdown period as a special case and has waived the road tax exercising powers under Section 16(1) of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Taxes Act, 1957.

The waiver, however, does not apply to new vehicle registration, he said. All kinds of goods vehicles as well as passenger vehicles, including buses, maxi cabs, tempos, taxis and autorickshaws, come under the definition of public transport vehicles. Meanwhile, the government has also exempted public transport vehicles registered in other States used to ferry stranded workers from Karnataka from obtaining permits and paying required taxes till June 30.

The vehicles, however, should have authorisation from the respective State governments/ district administrations or competent authorities, he said. The government also extended the last date for payment of bilateral taxes by goods vehicles registered outside the State but having inter-State permit with endorsement till June 1. However, private stage carriage (route bus) operators were not happy with the government decision to waive taxes for two months.

Karnataka Private Bus Owners Federation president K. Rajavarma Ballal told The Hindu that the gesture was not enough to make good losses already suffered as well as future ones. The operators have asked the government to collect road tax (INR 990 per seat per quarter) on pro-rata basis till the time buses were operated ensuring social distancing.

If the buses can operate only with 30 passengers, tax should be collected only for those seats and not for the unused seats, Mr. Ballal said. Private buses did not operate in the undivided Dakshina Kannada district on Tuesday.

Mr.

Ballal said that buses would not hit the roads till the government considers their woes.

Despite giving a number of representations to the Chief Minister and the Transport Minister, the government did not respond, he regretted.

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