Odisha considering tax wave demand of private bus operators in covid pandemic- Minister

Bhubaneswar : Odisha government is considering the demands of the private bus owners association to waive tax for losses due to covid pandemic, State Commerce and Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said here today.

Besides tax waiver, the association has also been demanding among other things for a yearly interest-free loan of Rs one lakh per bus and Rs 5,000 assistance besides ration to each staff member.

The Association threatened not to ply the buses if their demands were not met by the government. Over 14,000 buses are off the road due to the covid pandemic for the last several months

Mr Behera said the government was trying to normalise the bus services across the state. A decision in this regard would be taken soon considering the covid situation in the state.

The government had already allowed plying of buses in 20 ‘A’ category districts with all covid protocols from July 6 last on 43 routes where the Test Positivity Rate (TPR)is less than 5 per cent.

The government, Mr Behera said would decide on the plying of buses in the rest 10 districts under B category after taking into account the prevailing Covid situation in these districts.

Although the government has allowed inter-district and intradistrict movement of transport services in 20. A have category districts but the Bus operators alleged that very few have turned up to avail the service since public transport has been banned in ten major and important coastal districts.

Most of the long-distance buses are yet to resume their service due to the poor response of the passengers.

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