The Madras High Court on Thursday ordered notice to the Central and the state governments on a plea from a rental vehicle owners association seeking financial aid of Rs 15,000 to each of the transport workers in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The petitioner, Tamil Nadu Independent Rental Vehicle Owners and Drivers Association, wanted the state to also provide discount on road tax, extension of time to renew fitness certificate, insurance and exemption from payment of toll and permit charges during the lockdown period. They have requested for the sale of petrol and diesel at subsidised rates.
Admitting the plea, a division bench of Justice R Subbiah and Justice Krishnan Ramaswamy directed the governments to file their response by July 1. According to the petitioner, the livelihood of association members was affected to a great extent due to the lockdown.
In a normal situation, taxi owners and drivers support the government by periodical road taxes and permit charges. Therefore, in this extraordinary circumstance, it is the duty of the government to take care of such stake holders, the petitioner said.
Most of the drivers are in the age group of 25 to 50 having the responsibility to take care of their family the petitioner stated. They are now under unimaginable stress and in urgent need of support from the government for their survival, they added.
Besides financial aid, the petitioner wanted the Central government to provide interest-free loan ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh under the Prathan Manthri Muthra scheme. While the state has already provided relief materials and cash support to members of other profession and drivers registered under the social welfare department, members of the association have not been provided with any such relief so far, the petitioner added.
(With inputs from PTI)