Private bus operators have upped the ante against the state government opposing the hike in motor vehicle tax (MVT) and alleged favouritism to politically influential bus operators in the timetable.
A meeting of private bus operators of the Malwa zone, under the banner of private bus operators' association held here on Saturday, decided not to deposit any MVT till the government agrees to their demands and reduce the tax and reschedule the timetable of buses.
President of Bathinda mini bus operators union Baltej Singh said that the state government has hiked the tax for private buses from `2.25 per km `3.13 per km in a short span while for mini buses, it has been increased from `30,000 to `50,000 per annum in the corresponding period, which is not justified.
Blaming the state government for extending favour towards politically influential big transporters, he said that it is reflected from the fact that for semi-air conditioned and luxury buses, majority of which are owned by politically influential people, the MVT is `1.88 per km while for other private buses it `3.13 per km.
"Ordinary private buses are the vital transportation means for poor people while luxury buses are used by rich people. In addition to this, these luxury buses do charge much more fare than the ordinary buses, so there is no logic in the present tax regime," he said.
Members said that a few of the politically influential and big transport firms are also being extended favours in the timetable. "The buses owned by these influential firms are getting a time gap of over 15 minutes to load passengers at the bus stand, while others get mere 2-3 minutes, which is hurting business prospects of transporters."
Private bus operators announced to put up black flags on all buses from August 1 as a mark of protest and not deposit any kind of tax and observe black day on August 15 by keeping their buses off roads. They also announced to chalk out a separate timetable of buses on their own if anomalies in it are not resolved.