The West Bengal government on Thursday, August 6, announced a tax and permit-fee waiver for private bus and minibus operators, amid the growing demand for government sops among them to help tide over the losses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was taken at a state cabinet meet and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that her administration has decided to waive the one-year permit fee for buses.
The road tax and additional tax, which are paid by private bus operators in accordance with the West Bengal Motor Vehicles Act 1979, will be waived from April 1 to September 30, Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said. He added that to be eligible for the sops, those who had not paid their dues till March 30 would have to make the payments by August 31.
The bus operators had been seeking the government's help to tide over the losses due to a steep hike in fuel price and an increase in other operating costs. In addition to this, the sharp drop in passenger count due to the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation.
"Those who have not yet submitted the permit fee will have to pay the fee, no penalty," the CM told reporters.
While the government had earlier announced Rs 15,000 monthly incentive for each bus for a period of three months, the private bus owners had sought tax waivers instead. This prompted the government to announce the new package, the CM said.
Meanwhile, responding to the government's decision, Tapan Bandyopadhyay, general secretary of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates, said, "Only a fare hike can save the ailing sector."Also Read: Two Boys From Bengal's Tribal Belt Ace Class 10 Board Exams