Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 30
Ahead of the reopening of a majority of the city schools from April 1, the Chandigarh School Bus Operators’ Welfare Association has once again allege apathy of the UT Administration.
Despite getting assurance from the administration, the association is yet to get any relaxation in taxes for the lockdown period. “Despite getting assurances from the Administration, we have not got any kind of relaxations. We are asked to pay full taxes for the period when the schools were closed. Even the High Court had directed the Administration to listen to our grievances, but to no avail.
“We are already under a huge debt and facing sanctions by banks. We are helpless in terms of planning our future,” claimed Manjeet Singh, president of the association.
The association claims to have a fleet of more than 500 school buses. However, they are uncertain about continuing their services in schools after not getting any kind of relaxations from the administration.
“Since the schools are reopening soon, parents have started approaching us for our services. However, we are unable to quote them our charges. The diesel prices are soaring and we are already under debt by paying taxes without even plying a single bus on the road. The Administration must come up with some relaxation for us, otherwise we have to find a way to put forth our demands,” said the vice-president of the association, Trilochan Singh.
The association claimed to have incurred losses of over Rs7 crore since April 2020. “The lockdown started in March 2020 and thereafter from April 2020 to December 2020, the taxes were waived. However, from January 2021 to date, we are paying taxes (Motor Vehicle Tax). We have deposited taxes under protest. There is no adjustment (prepaid) or relaxation by the Administration.
“The court had ordered the UT to resolve the issue before April 20. However, there’s no hearing of our demands to date. Before plying the buses, we have to take fitness certificates from the RTO, but we are waiting for some kind of relaxation,” said Jeevan Rattan Sharma, secretary of the association. The new session at a majority of the local schools is starting from April 1, and if the Administration extended some help, it would be easier for the operators to start their services, added Sharma.