Budget failed us, say transporters in southern states

Road transporters termed the Union budget disappointing as it lacked any measures for addresing the major issues troubling the sector.

South Zone Motor Transporters Welfare Association, which represents Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other southern states, said that while the association welcomes the Centre’s push for electric vehicles, the budget is a “big dampener” for road transport sector.

“The present toll policy is regressive and is draining more than Rs 1.50 lakh crore every year as per the TCI-IIM Kolkata report of 2014-15. This could be corrected if the budget had included prudent policy initiative like collecting toll through indirect taxation,” association General Secretary G R Shanmugappa said.

He said the transport sector was witnessing the worst financial crunch, but the government had not announced any effective relief. The budget has increased the effective rate of diesel by Rs 2.50 per litre in retail, putting financial strain on business operations, he said.

In a release, the association said the 2% levy of TDS on withdrawal of cash of over Rs 1 crore will cripple the sector where the transactions are based on cash.

“We believe there is a systematic plan to destroy the poor transporters, 85% of which are small operators and entrepreneurs to make way for foreign investments,” it said, seeking an amendment to the finance bill to address their concerns.

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