Into their second year of disruption to their livelihoods brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, commercial vehicle drivers in the state are desperate for the government to suspend vehicle-related taxes.
Last year, taxi drivers had to sit idle for months without any other additional income to sustain their families. When the government allowed the resumption of taxi services, several restrictions were imposed, such as the odd-even system and also a restriction in the number of passengers.
Added to this, the taxi owners had to pay several taxes to the government, which further compounded their miseries.
“We have been facing difficulties for the last two years due to the pandemic. Therefore, we urge the government to suspend collection of taxes since we have no income,” Wanki Chyne, a local taxi owner, said. “For two years we have not been able to operate properly and most of us won’t be able to pay the taxes. The taxes, too, are very high. For example, we have to pay around Rs 20,000 as insurance annually. Apart from that, we have to pay road tax and passenger tax.”
There have also been hikes in the price of fuel but if drivers try to raise their fares, they are accused of acting arbitrarily by the public, he opined.
Meanwhile, today, a local committee of the National People’s Party (NPP) and NPP Shillong City unit distributed rations and other materials to around 40 commercial vehicle drivers residing in Malki. A further 20 households also received supplies from NPP Shillong City later in the day.