BANGALORE: Lashing out at the government for raising Lifetime Tax on luxury motor cabs to 15 per cent of the market value and making it compulsory in this year’s State Budget, the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners Association (BTTOA) on Saturday threatened to surrender their permits to the government and shift their vehicle registrations to other states if tax percentage is not reduced to 6 per cent.
“Karnataka is the only state which has imposed such a huge tax. Nowhere else in the country is the rate above six per cent. We cannot afford to pay such huge amounts for a car that we would not use for more than four to five years,” said President of the All India Motor Transport Congress G R Shanmugappa in a press conference on Saturday.
The taxi owners have threatened to hold demonstration in front of the Vidhana Soudha on April 3. They also plan to meet Chief Minister D V Sadanada Gowda and Transport Minister R Ashok. “We will park all our vehicles at Vidhana Soudha and surrender our permits. We already have with us around 1,000 of them which have been returned voluntarily by frustrated taxi owners,” said General Secretary of BTTOA Radhakrishna Holla.
Stating that BTTOA has only 700 members, Shanmugappa said that around 5,000 luxury cabs are registered in Bangalore.
“The remaining 4,300 are purchased by MLAs and other powerful people and registered with yellow board so that they can pay quarterly tax. We are ready to prove that 700 cars are operated regularly as taxi services,” he said.
Before the state budget, the taxi owners were allowed to pay quarterly tax while Lifetime Tax was compulsory for privately owned vehicles. The decision in the budget also applies with retrospective effect to already registered vehicles which seem to be BTTOA’s biggest peeve. “This system must be waived for old vehicles. Let them impose it for newly registered vehicles,” said Holla.