Tour operators decide against lending vehicles for poll duty

Cab and tour operators in the district have decided not to lend vehicles for poll duty during the current Lok Sabha polls as they are unhappy with the District Administration due to the delay in payment (up to six months) for the vehicles hired during the last Assembly polls.

Apart from the delay in payment, various other problems were discussed during a recent meeting held at the Regional Transport Office. Office-bearers of Mysore Travel Agents Association (MTAA) and RTO officials participated in the meeting, chaired by Deputy Commissioner C Shikha, also the District Electoral Officer.

B S Prashant, president of MTAA, speaking to Deccan Herald, confirmed that the District Adminstration had taken almost six months to clear the bills of hundreds of vehicles hired for poll duty. 

“As the vehicles were rented through MTAA, we found it tough to convince the vehicle owners about the delay in payment. Due to the bitter experience last year, the MTAA has decided not lend vehicles this season. It is left to the district adminstration to hire vehicles in whichever way it deems fit,” he stated.

Recalling the last year developments, Prashant said, when we approached DC Shikha after the elections, she told us that she was not responsible for the payments and its not her duty to get it done. “If such is the situation, what can a taxi or cab owner, who would have borrowed loans on the vehicle do?” he questioned.

Vehicles

MTAA had rented out around 200 vehicles, including SUVs (for poll observers) for poll duty last year. The association had brought vehicles from other districts also by paying the operators in advance. The government makes payment to the Registration Certificate (RC) owners through cheques. So, when the payment is released, we have to go in search of those RC owners to recover the amount, Prashant added.

He said, the District Adminstration also owes Rs 80,000 for cab services availed during the last Dasara.

Another tourist operator, on condition of anonymity, said, poll season is the time to make some money. So, renting out our vehicles for poll duty means incurring loss, he added.DC Shikha was not available for comment.

Law

The DC has written a letter to the presidents and secretaries of MTAA, Mini Lorry Association and Goods Tempo Owners and Drivers Association, directing them to lend services as per requirement. It states that the authorities can forcibly take vehicles for poll duty under the Representation of People’s Act, 1951, through the police or the regional transport office (RTO).

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