Northeast News – Assam motor transport operators to hike fares by 50 pc

by Guwahati_City


GUWAHATI, August 23: Passengers availing commercial vehicle services in Assam might have to pay 50 percent more fare once the state government allows resumption of inter-district public transport services.

Transport operators under the banner of All Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) have decided to increase the bus fares by 50 percent “if the government does not meet their demands of increasing bus fare by 70 percent and financial assistance to the bus owners and drivers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Speaking to The Shillong Times on Monday, AAMTA president Ratul Sarma informed that the association has placed three demands before the government – 70 percent fare hike based on the price index; road tax waiver and one-year extension of period of insurance already paid by the operators.

“Fares were last revised in October 2019 when the price of a litre of diesel was Rs 68. However, diesel rates have touched Rs 90 per litre now as against the fares fixed almost two years back. Given the two waves of the pandemic and our vehicles lying idle for six months last year and over three months this year, we have no option but to hike the fares by 50 percent if the government does not revise the fares,” Sarma said.

“Besides, it is not economically viable to operate the buses with 50 percent passengers as we offer service to people on payment,” he said, adding that about 90 percent of local people are engaged in the state’s transport sector.

Sarma further said that the condition of the transport operators has deteriorated in view of the suspension of inter-district services amidst the pandemic.

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“Worse still, parts of vehicles, including tyres and tyre tubes, have worn out owing to non operation of vehicles,” he said.

AAMTA members from 25 districts met in Tezpur on Sunday and placed the three demands before the state government.

“The Assam Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1936 entitles public transport vehicle owners for tax waiver if the vehicles lie idle for 30 days and more. If the governments of Bengal and Meghalaya can waive tax, we see no reason why the Assam government can’t,” he said.

Sarma also called upon the state government to take up the matter of extension of insurance period with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.

It may be mentioned that chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had recently hinted that inter-district transport services might resume from September 1, 2021.

 



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