VIJAYAWADA: A majority of private bus operators in Vijayawada have stopped operation of all transport vehicles to Hyderabad from Tuesday midnight in protest against the entry tax being levied on buses. The Telangana government has already passed a GO and decided to collect tax from private buses that are operating from Andhra Pradesh.
According to sources, 200 buses are being operated from Vijayawada to Hyderabad every day by 15-20 private bus travels including Kesineni, Morning Star, SVR, Sai Krishna and others. Quarterly, the bus operators are paying a total of Rs 1,18,125 for 40-seater private bus as tax to the Andhra Pradesh government, which means Rs 2,625 per seat. With the GO passed by the Telangana government, the private bus operators need to pay Rs 1,76,400 per bus for every three months.
“Out of 270 km distance between Vijayawada and Hyderabad, the bus needs to travel 110 km in Andhra Pradesh and 170 km in Telangana to reach Hyderabad. Except in festival season, we are running buses with a few passengers. Of the 40 seats, only 20 seats are filling every day. Paying tax to AP government itself is becoming difficult. How can we pay Rs 3,675 per seat for every three months?” said G Mallikarjuna Rao, managing director of Sri Venkata Kanaka Durga Travels.
The Telangana government has been claiming that vehicles from Andhra Pradesh will be treated as vehicles from neighbouring states. As the High Court stay on tax collection ended on Tuesday, the TS governmet says that it would collect tax as per the court order. But private bus operators are crying hoarse that imposition of tax on them will affect their business.
“We will approach the High Court for stay on the tax collection by the Telangana government. From Andhra Pradesh to Telangana, every day more than 1,000 buses are being operated by the private bus travellers and more than 300 especially from krishna district,” said K Kumar, manager of Kesineni Travels in Vijayawada. However, the private bus operators may hike the bus fares by 20-25 per cent, if the Telangana government does not withdraw its decision to collect tax.
“Whatever decisions are taken by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments, the ultimate sufferers will be the common public. After the state bifurcation, everything has become expensive. The private operators are already hiking bus fares during peak seasons and now the Telangana government has imposed tax on Andhra buses. This means the fares would go up,” said P Satyanarayana, a medical representative from Vijayawada.