The Pawan Kalyan-led Janasena party on Friday demanded that the Andhra Pradesh government waive off permit fee and road tax for taxi owners as many are struggling to repay their vehicle loans due to poor ridership during the lockdown.
In a statement to the media, Janasena said that it was not fair for the Andhra Pradesh Transport Department to pressurise those earning a living by running taxis to pay road tax and permit fee when they are struggling like other sectors due to the lockdown. “It is not fair for the transport department to pressurize on payment of road tax and permit fee when they are in trouble (sic),” the statement said.
The statement said that the Andhra Pradesh state transport department had asked cab owners and drivers to pay taxes and charges by June end. The party stated that the taxi drivers are in a difficult condition in the state owing to financial loss and are unable to repair their vehicles or even repay their monthly vehicle loans.
Earlier on June 4, the Andhra Pradesh government distributed Rs 10,000 each to 2,62,495 auto rickshaw, taxi, maxi cab owners and drivers under the YSR Vahana Mitra scheme launched in October 2019. The scheme grants an annual allowance of Rs 10,000 to taxi drivers registered under the scheme. The first disbursement of funds was to take place in October 2020, but was advanced by four months owing to lockdown, reported India Today.
In the neighbouring state of Telangana, the call for waiving off road tax and vehicle tax was raised by the Telangana State Cabs and Bus Operators Association citing lockdown as well. It wrote to the state government urging them to not collect road tax and vehicle tax for contract carriages, buses, maxi cabs working in the travel, tourism and employee transport services. These sectors came to a near standstill during the lockdown imposed from March 24 as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Association gave the example of the Punjab government's decision to slash tax on per kilometre travel for non-AC buses and allowance for vehicle owners to pay tax arrears by June 30 without penalty or interest.