KOCHI: In an apparent shove in the face for the Cochin International Airport Ltd(CIAL), the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) has decided to initiate revenue recovery(RR) proceedings against the former’s luxury contract carriage bus. It was on December 31 MVD officers seized the luxury bus plying at the CIAL for the last five years without registering with the department.
“The decision to initiate RR against the CIAL vehicle came after the Kerala High court directed the airport authorities to register the vehicle by paying all the taxes. Based on this, the department directed the CIAL to submit the purchase details of the seized vehicle and other documents before the Aluva Joint RTO but they have not responded to it. They also turned down the demand notice issued on March 3 directing them to pay road tax. This forced us to issue a notice for RR. The tahsildar will initiate the recovery proceedings on the department’s behalf,” said M P Ajith Kumar, Deputy Transport Commissioner, Ernakulam.
According to Ajith Kumar, the MVD had incurred a loss of `10 lakh on account of the CIAL’s continued refusal to pay the luxury carriage’s road tax. “ It was on January 15 the court directed CIAL to register the impounded vehicle and a demand notice was served on March 3 directing them to pay the tax. Even after giving them one-month’s additional grace period they have failed to pay the tax,” he said.
Earlier, the department had also approached the state government seeking clarity on the action to be taken against the contract carriages and it is learnt the government had directed the department to go ahead with the RR proceedings.
Meanwhile, emboldened by the High Court’s January 15 directive to the CIAL for payment of tax on the impounded vehicle, the MVD has initiated steps to seize as many as 20 such vehicles plying on the CIAL premises.“ Since we don’t want to disrupt CIAL’s functioning, we asked the airport authorities to provide the registration, purchase, contract and insurance details of the vehicles plying at the CIAL. A letter seeking the report was also forwarded to the CIAL. Based on the report, action will be initiated against the other vehicles,” the DTC added.
However, the CIAL authorities said the specialised vehicles plying inside the operational area (airside) of the airport did not require registration. “We have been informed by the agencies these specialised vehicles plying inside the operational area (airside) of the airport do not have to be registered with the Motor Vehicles Department as per the Centre’s orders.
“A notification issued by the Ministry of Surface Transport (No.RT-11044/4/92-MVL) and a directive from the Ministry of Civil Aviation categorically stated exemption shall be given to the specialised equipment used for aircraft handling viz; ground power units, air conditioning units, air starter units, auto steps, high-lifts, water carts, toilet carts, cargo loader, cargo transfer machine, baggage conveyors, aircraft tow tractors, strato tower, roller bed truck, passenger coach, fuel bowser, diesel tractors and fork-lifts,” CIAL had said in a release.