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Border Tax: Bus operators to go strike on May 20

Hyderabad, May 9 (INN): The Telangana State Cabs and Bus Operators Association (TSCBOA) has decided to go on one-day strike on May 20 demanding withdrawal of Border Tax by Andhra Pradesh Government. The Association also demanded that the Telangana Government rationalise Road Tax as per 10 districts, instead of continuing with the old tariff for 23 districts.

Speaking to media persons after the meeting at Ganga Putra Sangam building at Afzalgunj on Saturday, TSCBOA President Syed Nizamuddin said that before going on one-day strike, the operators would try to meet Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu (AP) and K Chandrashekar Rao (Telangana) to request them to resolve the issue. If they fail to react, then the Association would seek Governor ESL Narasimhan’s intervention. If the operators fail to get justice from all the authorities, then they would go on one-day strike on May 20. All the operators will park their cabs and buses at the local RTA offices for the entire day in protest, he said.

Earlier, addressing the TSCBOA meeting, Nizamuddin strongly condemned the Andhra Pradesh Government for not reacting to the representations made by the bus operators demanding withdrawal of Border Tax on contract carriage vehicles. He said that Telangana operators were facing difficulties in paying Border Tax of Rs 330 per seat. “The operators are neither able to pay the Border Tax nor willing to transfer the burden on passengers,” he said.

The operators asked AP Government to act wisely. “While the Border Tax of Rs 330 per seat will burden the Telangana operators, it will automatically reduce the number of tourists visiting Andhra Pradesh. From a 22-seater contract carriage vehicle, the AP Govt may earn Rs 8,000 per trip. However, the additional taxation will consequently force the operators to reduce the number of trips to AP as customers will not be able to afford higher tariff,” Syed Nizamuddin said.

This will directly impact the tourism, hotel, food and other related industries of Andhra Pradesh. As a result, the AP Govt will lose heavily on VAT and other taxations.

Similarly, the Telangana Chief Minister should rationalise the Road Tax for bus operators. “As per Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, all assets were divided on the ratio of 52:48 between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. But Telangana State became a major beneficiary in revenues from Motor Vehicle Tax. In the financial year, 2013-14, the revenues of united AP were Rs 3,335.18 Crore. After bifurcation, in 10 months (from June 2014 – March 2015), the total revenues for AP and Telangana were Rs 3,025 Crore. Of this, Telangana Govt earned Rs 2,226 Crore or 73% of total revenues.

While 48% of Rs.3025 Crore should have been Rs 1452 Crore, the Telangana Govt enjoyed three-fourth of total revenues. But this advantage was not passed on to the travel industry.

The Government of Telangana did not rationalise the taxes. It collected Rs 340 Crore towards Quarterly Taxes by continuing rates fixed during united AP regime. The tariff for Road Tax was fixed for 23 districts, but despite bifurcation, it was not rationalized for 10 districts of Telangana.

“Therefore, the TSCBOA demanded that the Road Tax of Rs 893 should be rationalized by dividing it into 23 districts and multiplied into 10 districts. After rationalization, the Quarterly Tax of Rs 340 crore would get reduced to Rs 147.80 Crore. The difference after rationalization will be of just Rs. 193 crore per annum. Incentives to travel industry will directly boost tourism. If one tourist is spending Rs 330 on a travel ticket, he spends at least Rs 3,300 on hotel accommodation, food and other activities. By doing this, the government can earns additional revenues of 14.5% VAT,” Nizamuddin said.

The meeting was also addressed by TSCBOA office bearers including Maozam and Raju.

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