Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], May 4 (ANI): Over 3,300 buses stayed off roads in Shimla on Monday as part of a strike by private bus operators, demanding special road tax exemption amid the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Private bus operators are demanding a rebate or exemption in token tax, state road tax and exemption in working capital, and have warned that the strike will continue until the government agrees to their demands.
Union president Rajesh Parashar told ANI that bus operators have also demanded Rs 2 lakh working capital as the business has been hit due to the pandemic.
"We have been demanding special road tax exemption and Rs 2 lakh working capital to tide over this financial crunch. There is no way left for us but to halt our buses," Parashar said.
Due to the nationwide surge in Covid cases, orders have been given to run buses with half the capacity, State General Secretary of Private Bus Operators Union Ramesh Kamal said.
"As a result, the private bus operator is suffering heavy losses. We have raised our demands before the government many times but they have not been considered till date," Kamal said.
He added, "We are running our buses with 50 per cent of the total capacity amid of COVID-19 as per guidelines from the government. Last year, we had no business due to lockdown and the government had promised us a tax wavier. We are earning only about Rs 4,000 in local routes here and the cost to run buses here is Rs 8,000." (ANI)