Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association is likely to ply buses in the state from Thursday even though they initially refused to operate their vehicles following the Odisha government’s permission couple of days back. General Secretary of the State bus owners’ association, Barada Prasanna Acharya on Tuesday said the bus operators will take a final decision whether to run buses or if the association’s general body meeting becomes fruitful on Thursday.
Acharya further told mediapersons, during a meeting with the Transport department today, the bus owners’ association was informed in a letter has written to the Finance Department for waiver of taxes of bus owners. Worth mentioning, the private bus owners were not ready to operate intra-state buses after the government’s permission on May 24 fearing that they might be asked to pay taxes for the month of May.
He added the Transport Minister has assured the bus owners that the government will waive taxes for April, May and June after a clearance from the Finance Department.
Acharya said the bus operators will santise their buses and create awareness among their staff. “We are ready to carry passengers as per the seating capacity of buses as per the government instruction,” he added.
As many as 14,000 private buses are being run in the state by 8,000 bus owners, said sources.
In his reaction, Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said a discussion was held amicably. The state government has agreed to waive road tax for the months of April, May and June. This apart, Chef Minister Naveen Patnaik will write to the Centre for waiving the bank loans of private bus owners.
The state government had suspended the intra-state bus services in the third week of March due to the lockdown imposed to contain spread of COVID-19.