Assam govt allows public transport to operate with 100% seat capacity
GUWAHATI: In a major relief to commuters, the All Assam Motor Transport Association (AAMTA) has withdrawn the indefinite chakka bandh as the state government allowed all modes of public transports to operate with full passenger capacity.
Announcing this, AAMTA secretary general Pradip Das said that they have decided to call off the strike as the state government agreed on allowing public transport to operate with 100 per cent seat capacity.
Earlier, the association had called the bandh on Monday demanding fare hike for commercial vehicles, waiver of quarter tax and road tax reduction up to 50 per cent, among others.
“We will discuss our other demands with the transport department in a phased manner,” Das said.
Earlier, the AAMTA had suggested a waiver of road taxes for one year and withdrawal of fines imposed for non-repayment of loans taken by the owners of passenger vehicles. Das alleged payments of several crores of rupees for plying buses requisitioned by the government to ferry stranded people during the lockdown period are pending with the administration.
“We are operating with only 50% capacity as per the COVID-19 protocol. Hence, we urged the government to allow us to slightly raise the fares till the situation normalises, but they turned down our plea,” Das said.
The transport department, on the contrary, has imposed fines in the range of Rs 2,000-20,000 if any vehicle was found carrying even one passenger more than the stipulated 50% capacity, he said. “During this pandemic period, two new toll gates have started functioning at Changsari and Raha, the two entry points to Guwahati city.
There is no proper infrastructure at the facilities but those running them are charging exorbitant rates for commercial vehicles. If the situation faced by the transporters is not addressed urgently, many will not be able to sustain themselves in the coming months,” the AAMTA office-bearer said.