The majority of vehicles plying school students in the region are not registered as contract carriage with the district transport office, rendering their movement illegal and also depriving the exchequer of road tax, information procured under RTI by the local Mini Bus Operators' Union has revealed.
It needs to be clarified that Bus Operators Union and buses hired by the schools and education institutes compete to carry students.
Now, the operators' union has claimed that 287 vehicles hired by different educational institutions including schools and colleges in the district are registered as a contract carriage, while their number is more than 1,100.
Union president Baltej Singh alleged that private bus operators were being burdened with the increase in the road tax whereas the administration has failed to collect the tax from the vehicles hired by the educational institutions.
"School vehicles with capacity with 30 seats is liable to pay Rs 30, 000 as annual road tax by registering as contract carriage where as fee of college or university bus for this is Rs 60, 000 per year. As majority of the vehicles are not registered with the department," he claimed.
He said that the bus operators have done this exercise to prove their point before the state government to give relaxation in road tax to private bus operators which is Rs 50,000 for mini bus (bus with 30-passenger capacity) and Rs 3 per kilometer for a bus above 30 passenger-seat capacity and demand of fixing minimum fare at Rs 10 irrespective of distance traveled.
Officiating DTO, Amit Mahajan said that he is not in a position to comment on this matter and claimed that only DTO, Damanjeet Singh who is on leave would be able to comment.