Regular bus operations resumed in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, following the state government's announcement that vehicle tax will be waived for the COVID-19 lockdown period.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had on Friday announced that the monthly vehicle tax payable on buses will be waived completely for the period from April 1 to August 31 in view of problems faced by bus operators and citizens.
Chouhan also announced an exemption of 50 per cent in vehicle tax payable for September and extended the date of depositing the tax amount till September 30, he said.
The Madhya Pradesh Bus Owners Association, however, said it will take about a month for bus operations to normalise in the state.
"Although we resumed operations on Saturday morning, most buses were almost empty as people are still scared of travelling," the association's vice president Santosh Pandey told PTI.
Vehicles have been sanitised and other precautionary measures were also taken, he said, adding that passengers who don't have masks are being given the protective gear on buses.
Meanwhile, some bus operators in Bhopal and Indore are also using thermal scanners, eyewitnesses said.
Buses operations were suspended in Madhya Pradesh from March 25 after the coronavirus-induced lockdown came into force.
While the state government had granted partial permissions for buses when the Centre announced easing of the lockdown, regular operations could not be restored due to impasse over taxes and among other issues.