Covid-hit private bus operators demand relief from Delhi government
The association represents contract carriage and all India tourist bus operators catering to schools, offices, national and multinational companies and tourists.Updated: Aug 06, 2020 13:56 IST
Private bus operators in the national capital have sought relief from the Delhi government in the wake of losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying 65-70 per cent of their vehicles are still off roads.
Claiming that “the whole ecosystem stands the risk of collapse,” the Delhi Contract Bus Association office-bearers, in a letter written on Wednesday to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, urged for waiver of road tax from April to December this year.
The association represents contract carriage and all India tourist bus operators catering to schools, offices, national and multinational companies and tourists.
“The transport operators are under acute financial strain and about 65-70 per cent of their vehicles are still off the road. In the present critical situation of the trade, the bus operators are devastated. The situation is aggravated by depletion of their finances in meeting obligations like staff salaries, taxes and interest on EMIs,” said the association general Harish Sabharwal.
Due to shortage of demand, their operations are becoming economically unviable, and it has become very difficult to pay the taxes for vehicles due since April, he said.
“In sync with your government’s endeavours to help the citizens of the state during these tough times and to provide them the much-needed relief, it is earnestly requested to your good self to issue needful directions to the Transport Department in this regard,” said the letter to the chief minister, requesting a tax waiver.
Due to the pandemic, the financial crisis in the passenger transport segment has reached its peak. Unless the governments provide the timely and necessary support to the sector, the whole ecosystem stands the risk of collapse, Sabharwal said.
Gurmit Singh Taneja, working president of the Delhi Contract Bus Association, said there was no revenue generation for school bus operators, as schools were closed indefinitely.
“As per the guidelines of the Supreme Court, the school buses are painted with yellow colour and they run on CNG and cannot be used anywhere else. But during lockdown they have incurred costs like EMI’s, staff salaries, insurance, parking charges, Road Tax and several government compliances, borne by the operators,” Taneja said.
Domestic and international tourism is at a standstill due to the pandemic and hence there is no earning for tourist buses as well. Office goers are working from home, IT-sector, multinational and national organizations are still closed, he said.
There is no revenue generation and financial inflows as mostly payments from business houses and companies are restrained and existing finances with small bus operators as well as that of big bus operators are depleting fast, Taneja reasoned.