Putting an end to painful experience of months of lockdown crisis, private buses will soon ply on the roads across Odisha from July 19 (Monday). State Private Bus Owners’ Association Secretary Debendra Sahu announced the same after a crucial meeting with Odisha government.
All the 62 regional bus associations will be asked to resume bus services from Monday since the State government has assured to fulfil most demands put forth by the private bus owners’ association, said Sahu.
The bus owners had submitted a series of demands before the government including extension of loan repayment period, bank EMIs, insurance, taxes and financial assistance for initiating maintenance works of the buses before resuming transport.
But alleging delay in fulfilment of the demands, the bus owners yesterday announced to stop the services across the State even as the government recently allowed normalisation of bus operations from July 16 after weeks of lockdown.
However, a group of representatives from the bus owners’ associations held a meeting with the State Transport Minister and several officials including Finance Secretary where they reiterated for early consideration of their demands today.
Speaking to newsmen after the discussion, association secretary Debendra Sahu said the Transport Minister has assured to consider their demand for waiver of taxes for two more months August and September 2021.
On our plea for immediate aid of Rs 1 lakh to bus owners in the lines of an initiative taken by Madhya Pradesh government for faster repairing of buses, the Finance Secretary said that the government will soon roll out a special scheme. Government will grant Rs 1 lakh to bus owners and fix the repayment term for five years by taking guarantees, said Sahu.
He further said that the bus association levelled the issue of how insurance companies are harassing bus operators despite all compliance. The Finance depatment has assured us to take up the matter with the IRDA Chairman for redressal of the issue with strict warning for such insurance companies, he added.
This apart, the government has also promised to seek RBI to allow extension of loan EMI repayment terms so that bus operators are not placed in the list of defaulters soon.
“We also urged the government to caution private and bank financers not to seize buses on charges of defaulting in payments. Transport Minister has said that an announcement would be soon made for registration of criminal charges against such financers,” Sahu told reporters.