Exorbitant Road Tax Hits Tourism in State
By Express News Service | Published: 01st February 2014 09:16 AM |
Vehicles turning back without continuing the onward journey to Karnataka is now a familiar sight for the staff manning Talapady checkpost on the Karnataka-Kerala border.
The pilgrims coming from far-off places in Kerala have found it unviable to continue their onward journey into Karnataka because of the steep hike in road tax, sources in the Department of Tourism told Express.
Sources in the district Regional Transport Office (RTO) also confirmed that the transport and road safety commissioner, in a circular, had hiked the weekly road tax by making it an annual one-time tax.
“Without paying annual road tax in demand draft mode to the KSTA Secretary under col 88(9) of the 1988 Motor Vehicle Act, a vehicle cannot ply in the state,” the Commissioner said. A copy of the circular is with Express.
A family travelling in an Indica car with minimum seating capacity for four members, had to earlier pay just `35 at the border.
“According to the circular, the annual tax now has been increased to `1,332. A bus with a seating capacity of 35, including the driver, which earlier had to pay `23,310 now has to shell out `4.15 lakh, including cess at the check post. This steep hike in road tax implemented to fill coffers is stifling tourism mainly in coastal districts, sources in the RTO said.
Thus it comes as no surprise that during weekends, important pilgrimage centres like Ullal darga, Kollur temple, Subrahmanya and Dharmasthala witness a trickle of devotees from across the borders. “Most of these devotees have opted to travel modestly by sticking to buses and trains,” sources in RTO revealed.