In a relief to bus operators in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered 100 per cent waiver on Motor Vehicle Tax till December 31 for all stage carriage, mini and school buses, while deferring payment of arrears of taxes, without interest and penalty, to March 31, next year.
The move will result in total financial benefit to the transport sector to the tune of Rs 100 crore, according to an official statement.
The Chief Minister also directed Transport Minister Razia Sultana to discuss and resolve other issues of concern to mini private bus owners by the next week.
The decisions and directives were announced by the chief minister at a virtual conference with various private transport associations in the state. Besides Ms Razia, Finance Minister Manpreet Badal and Transport Secretary K Siva Prasad were present at the meeting.
Though the transport department had initially suggested waiver up to 50 per cent of tax till December 31, the chief minister, responding to the concerns of transporters, overruled the department to announce 100 per cent relief, the statement said.
The transporters were earlier provided 100 per cent relief for two months, till September 30, by the state government.
"The chief minister took note of the problems faced by the transporters, who pointed out that with less than 10 per cent commuters availing the bus services, they were unable to meet even the cost of diesel to run their vehicles.
"Though the state transport and PRTC (state transport), being prime routes, were in demand, private bus operators continued to suffer due to the COVID-19 pandemic," representatives of the transport associations told the chief minister.
Amarinder Singh agreed with the transporters that their industry, run entirely by Punjabis, needed further support from the state government in the present situation and accepted their demand for total tax waiver till the end of this year, the statement further said.