Private school vehicle owners call off strike

But protesters and Transport Ministry yet to decide on a course of action

Ending a three-day impasse, private school vehicle drivers’ union on Friday decided to call off its strike after a meeting with the Transport ministry.

However, the two parties have not yet decided on a course of action.

“While the drivers’ union has no problems with most of the guidelines, they still insist on two rules, one on the levy of tax and the 15-year clause on vehicles. I have not made any promises or given any assurances,” said Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy. 

The bone of contention between the two parties was the age of the vehicles.
“The Supreme Court has not made any specific ruling on the age of the vehicle and has merely asked the State government to arrive at an arrangement,” said P S Shanmugam, President, Karnataka United School and Light Motor Vehicle Drivers’ Union.

Petition dismissed

Shanmugam had also put forward a petition in the Karnataka High Court on April 5, 2013, asking it to consider the fact that the State government cannot fix the age of the vehicles. “We tried to highlight the fact that according to the Indian Motors Vehicles Act, Section 59, it is the Central government which has such a power. Our petition was, however, dismissed,” he said. The minister has asked for a copy of the judgement.  

Age of vehicles

Admitting that the Supreme Court has not made any suggestion on deciding the age of the vehicles, Reddy said: “Although the Supreme Court does not specify the age of the vehicles, we have suggested that the drivers’ union use their vehicles for purposes other than ferrying children after 15 years,” said Shanmugam.    

On taxes imposed on the private school vehicles, Reddy reiterated that the matter will be taken up with the chief minister. “We have asked the drivers’ union to approach the chief minister. We will also discuss the issue with him,” said Reddy.

The drivers’ union wants that the taxes imposed on them are brought on a par with that imposed on vehicles used by educational institutions.

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