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Lockdown impact: School bus operators on the verge of collapse

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 04, 2020 Published on August 04, 2020

Request the government to reimburse bus employees’ salaries for the entire lockdown period

The Bus and Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) and School Bus Owner Association have urged the Maharashtra government to provide immediate relief to school bus operators and their staff.

The association believes that the operators are financially impacted and on the verge of closure due to the lockdown, as per the associations’ joint release.

The associations have further requested the government to reimburse bus staffers’ salaries for the entire lockdown period.

Demands

Some of the demands include a waiver of taxes, deferment of motor insurance, extensions of moratorium and waiver of interest, parking fees issue to the corporation, subsidised fuel rates for school buses such as BEST and MSRTC, parking facilities for school buses, and GST input credit benefits on purchase of new buses, among others.

Over 50,000 school buses and around 1.5 lakh bus staffers are currently in financial distress as they have lost their jobs, the joint release revealed.

Putting forth this concern, Anil Garg, President of School Bus Owner Association, said in the official statement: “We are staring at a bleak situation as the schools are closed for many months, whereas in Maharashtra, the new academic year commences from April for ICSE and State board classes commence from June and bus fees are collected accordingly.”

He added: “Simultaneously, bus owners have not received the transportation fees for the academic year ending May 2020. Due to the outbreak of the Covid crisis and followed by repeated extension of lockdown, many schools have started their classes online and schools have refused to pay bus owners, saying that parents are not paying fees for buses as they are not using the bus service.”

He further informed that this has led to thousands of bus operators being jobless as there is nothing that we can do to retain our staff. Over 2 lakh people in the State are already dependent on these buses for their livelihoods.

“We request the State authorities to absorb the fleet of school buses that are lying idle into State and Municipal transport corporation for their public transport services,” he urged.

BOCI has also addressed these issues in a letter to the Prime Minister requesting for the job security of 1 crore people who have not been paid during the lockdown and requested the government to take responsibility to pay salaries for 3 months.

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Published on August 04, 2020
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