Covid-19: School bus operators on the verge of collapse
Schools across India have been shut ever since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has impacted school bus operators, who are now facing financial collapse.
Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India – (BOCI) & School Bus Owner Association have urged the government of Maharashtra to provide immediate relief to school bus operators and their staff.
The associations are seeking bus staffer’s salaries for the entire lockdown period. They have also requested the government to waive off Taxes and are seeking deferment of Motor Insurance, extensions of moratorium & waiver of interest as well as Parking fees.
Bus operators also want the government to increase the age limit of school buses from 8 years to 20 years in Mumbai and 15 years to 20 years in other areas of Maharashtra. They also want subsidized fuel rates for school buses like BEST & MSRTC, parking facilities for school buses, GST input credit benefits on purchase of new buses, banning of illegal private vans plying as school buses and vehicle sanitization.
Here is a list of demands that has been submitted to the government:
- Salaries of Bus Staffer’ for entire lockdown period
- Waiver of Taxes
- Deferment of Motor Insurance
- Extensions of moratorium & waiver of interest
- Parking fees issue to the Corporation
- Increase the age limit of school buses from 8 years to 20 years in Mumbai and other areas of Maharashtra from 15 years to 20 years
- Following CMVR, policy of school bus should be more than 13 seats only below this capacity it should not be considered as school bus.
- Adhering to Mumbai High Court order dated May 2017 requiring an agreement between School authorities and school bus transporter.
- Issue Heavy passenger vehicle licenses as issued in other states and such license holder of any Indian state to be permitted to drive all buses in Maharashtra
- As per Supreme Court order dated 16.04.2018 stating any LMV license holder be permitted to drive any class of vehicles up to 7,500 km, in Maharashtra
- Experience of 5years to drive school bus to be abolished if driver has bus badge or heavy passenger vehicle driving licence.
- Subsidized fuel rates for school buses like BEST & MSRTC
- Harassment by traffic cops to school buses during drop and pickup of students
- Parking facilities for school buses
- GST input credit benefits on purchase of new buses
- Banning of illegal private vans plying as school buses
- Regular Vehicle Sanitization
- Recommending Minimum Rescue Package suggested by AIMTC to the Central Government
- Issue of harassment by traffic authorities
There are said to be over 50,000 school buses in the state. Around 1.5 lakh people working in this sector are in financial distress or have lost their jobs.
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