Angry at the step motherly treatment meted out to them, private bus operators on Monday met Transport Department officials and said that the government has done little to keep 90,000 odd private buses, including school buses, running.
Meanwhile, school bus operators wrote a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and claimed that the state government would stand to lose Rs 1,035 crore annually from taxes.
The private operator body of Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatana claims that the situation has become grim, yet the Transport Department is not making any provisions to take care of them.
“We have been demanding for a special package as we are under severe financial losses. The interest on vehicle loans should also be extended and we should not be pressured by banks for its repayment,” said KV Shetty, member, Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatana.
Bus operators claim that the government-run Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has been provided a financial package of up to Rs 2,150 crore amidst the pandemic to run its 16,000 odd buses. However nothing has been planned for the 90,000 private buses, including the 40,000-odd school buses.
The School Bus Owners Association wrote a letter to the CM and sought respite, as schools have been shut. “It is better late than never. Having neglected this segment till date may have been a mistake. The government should provide an alternate source of income and immediate relief before things go out of hand,” said Anil Garg, in his letter written to the Chief Minister.
It stated that each school bus consumes 20 litres of fuel per day. The consumption of fuel in 200 working days is 4,000, for which the state government receives tax of Rs 38.55 per litre. There are 67,121 school buses, which include 21,436 owned by schools and the remaining are privately owned. The state government, according to SBOA, receives tax amounting to Rs 1,035 crore from school buses in a year.
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