Private bus, truckers seek loan interest waiver in lockdown
Impact of lockdown, Private bus and truckers owners’ associations also demand moratorium of six months for loan repayment.
BHUBANESWAR: Hit hard by the ongoing lockdown, private bus and truck operators have sought the intervention of the State Government for further deferment of their loan repayment by three months till August to overcome the financial difficulties. As uncertainty looms large over lifting of the lockdown in view of rising number of Covid-19 positive cases reported from across the State, bus and truck owners have made a strong pitch for waiver of interest dues on loan for six months and rephasement of EMIs of residual tenor.
In a memorandum to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the All Odisha Bus Owners’ Association has requested for waiver of motor vehicle tax and additional tax for passenger vehicles for six months. “We have also requested the Government to take up vehicle insurance related issues with the IRDA for six months extension of insurance coverage,” said general secretary of the association Debendra Sahu. Claiming that private bus operators are playing a pivotal role in meeting the transportation needs of about 99 per cent of the commuters of the State, Sahu said this sector has provided direct employment to about 64,000 people and indirect employment to another 80,000 families.
The bus owners have requested the Chief Minister to convene a joint meeting of officers of Transport and Finance departments, RBI and insurance companies for consideration of their proposals. Echoing similar concerns, president of the Odisha Truck Owners’ Association Rabi Satpathy said the truck operators urged the Government to take up the matter with Ministry of Finance for granting a moratorium of six months to the transportation sector.
With around two lakh trucks operating in the State, the sector has provided direct employment to about six lakh people and indirect employment to similar number of people. But the Government has been treating this sector shabbily, he rued. They further complained that the banks have deducted the EMIs from the accounts of the transporters who had loan accounts despite the RBI moratorium covering March to May.
“While some banks say they have no instructions from their corporate offices, others ask the customers to apply in writing for moratorium,” said Ganesh Mahari of Cuttack Bhubaneswar Mini Truck Owners’ Association. When people are unable to go out of their homes due to lockdown, how it is possible to submit application to the banks, he wondered. Since many of lonees have opted for ECS route for EMI deduction, they have been given the option of availing the facility by informing the branch concerned through mail or other digital medium, said Deputy General Manager of UCO Bank PKC Dash.