‘Private Buses in State Not Operating Till Sept due to Lockdown is not TRUE’- DKBOA President Dilraj Alva

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Media report stating ‘Private Buses in State Not Operating Till Sept due to Lockdown is not TRUE’, said Dakshina Kannada Bus Operators Association (DKBOA ) President Dilraj Alva, during interaction with Team Mangalorean

Mangaluru: Ever since the city and service buses had ceased their services due to lockdown, since March 2020, it has resulted in hardship and inconveniences to many commuters, including office goers, students and others. And with only a few auto-rickshaws plying on the road, and who have been charging exorbitant fares, has even made the life of the common people hard. Not only the commuters are facing the brunt of this lockdown, where bus transportation has been stopped, it is the bus owners who have also been facing the brunt, incurring heavy loses due to non-income since nearly two months- and are not sure when they will resume their services.

Dilraj Alva- President , DKBOA

In response to news in media where it was stated that private buses in Karnataka State may not run until September 2020 due to lockdown, and in order to clarify this news, Dilraj Alva-the President of Dakshina Kannada Bus Owners Association speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “Just because a association leader somewhere in Bengaluru has opined his thoughts and plans, that doesn’t mean that we have to abide by it, and no one can predict whether the bus service may start soon or later. So we urge our citizens not to panic by such fake news, instead wait patiently when DKBOA will announce their plan of action, after finalizing with the concerned authorities in the government and DK Deputy Commissioner”

“We have noted that if the government has allowed plane and train services with certain restrictions, including passengers capacity while traveling, they should also introduce such services in city, service and private buses at the earliest, since the commuters are facing lots of inconveniences to do their errands and other engagements. Couple of weeks ago, our association members had met the DC and put forth our two main demands, of which, one is allow us to increase the bus fare, since we will be transporting half the passengers capacity in the bus, due to social distancing; and our second demand is that the government should exempt from paying Road Tax for six months; and later if the lockdown still continues, and if bus service continues, they should give us 50% reduction in road tax” added Alva.

He further said, “Every three months as Road Tax, we pay, Rs 26,000 for city urban buses; Rs 36,000 for Rural bus; Rs 56,000 for Express Buses; and Rs 82,000 for Contract Carriage buses, which is a lot of money, when there is no proper income. We are hoping that the DC and the concerned authorities will accept our demands, and do the needful, which would benefit the bus owners and our staff, and also the commuters, who have been waiting anxiously for bus services to resume. If the citizens/commuters cooperate with us, then we can operate the bus service without any hassles and violations. But if the govt and district administration makes us to resume our services, without meeting our demands and the necessary consensual agreement, then we may not be willing to operate the bus services.We are hoping for the best, with a positive response and solution from the authorities, so that we could start our business again, benefiting us and the commuters”.

In conclusion, in my perspective, the government and concerned authorities should come up with a solution like they did for plane and train travel. For many common people, the bus service is essential to reach to their destination or work-place. How long can anyone stay home without work and income, just because of lockdown and restrictions. It’s time to relax the lockdown, and come to a proper conclusion, between the district authorities and bus owners. Why can’t the govt wave the road tax for few months, since the bus owners are in financial crunch. If the Union Finance Minister can boast about her Rs 20 lack crore package, exempting the road tax for a while will just be peanuts for the government.

It’s the need of the hour that the Government and the Bus Owners Association should come to a consensus for the benefit of the people. They should realize that, how would people who always depend on only bus mode of travel should survive by sitting at home? They can’t keep this lockdown with strict restrictions for long, since the the Covid-19 virus may not end soon- some reports indicate that the virus may last for few more years. OMG!

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