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Striking school cab drivers firm on their demands

Bangalore, June 19, 2013, DHNS:
balancing act: As private vehicles carrying schoolchildren stayed off the roads, parents had to struggle to take their wards to school and back, in Bangalore on Wednesday. DHPhoto/ S k dinesh

The Karnataka United School and Light Motor Vehicle Drivers’ Union, which ensured that school cabs were off the roads for its strike on Wednesday, has said the responsibility of breaking the gridlock lies with the government.

“We want an amicable solution to the problem and will be meeting transport minister to discuss the issue. However, the ball is now in their court and we won’t be able to bring our vehicles on to the road without they responding to our demands,” said P S Shanmugam, the Union president.

The two primary demands of the Union are that the tax on private school vehicles should be on a par with those maintained by educational institutions.

Accordingly, they want the existing tax of Rs 16,000 reduced to Rs 1,600. Secondly, the Union wants their vehicles to be allowed to run on the basis of a fitness certificate, instead of considering the age of the vehicle, that is currently 15 years.
“All other vehicles including the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses are allowed to ply even after 15 years. In Tamil Nadu, vehicles run on the basis of a fitness certificate. Why can’t this be the norm even for us? We met Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy some time ago and he was positive on making some changes so far as reducing the taxes,” said Shanmugam.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Reddy said: “As for the change in taxes, I can take the grievance to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who also holds the finance portfolio.
“However, the rule on the age of such vehicles is based on a Supreme Court order and we will not interfere in it as it will amount to contempt of court. The Union can take the matter to court if it wants any changes.”


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