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10 ambulances seized

The Bokaro district administration on Thursday started cracking down on vans that are registered as private vehicles, but are operating commercially in the district as ambulances, thus robbing the state exchequer of crores in terms of road tax.

As many as 10 ambulances were seized during the morning surprise raid led by Bokaro district transport officer (DTO) Vijay Kumar Gupta and DSP R.K. Singh. The vehicles were taken to Sector IV and City police stations. A collective fine of Rs 1.80 lakh was realised from the owners.

DTO Gupta said: “The vehicles that we seized today (Thursday) are basically vans that have been turned into ambulances for ferrying patients to hospitals against high charges. We will expand the ambit of the drive from Friday, seizing all private vehicles that are being used as taxis or for other commercial purpose. Our team will be posted at hotels too, where private vehicles wait for commuters.”

According to transport rules in Jharkhand, commercial vehicles have to pay road tax of around Rs 7,000 every year, while five-seater private vehicles have to cough up a one-time charge of around Rs 13,000 for 15 years. This explains why most people register their vehicles acquired for commercial purposes as private ones.

Bokaro deputy commissioner Uma Shankar Singh vowed to take action against those who are skirting laws to evade taxes. “The drive will continue till all violators are brought to book,” he added.

In another move, the district administration has started seeking documents of heavy commercial vehicles plying for major companies like DVC, CCL, BCCL and Electrosteel Castings Limited so that action could be taken against them for evading transport tax by virtue of being registered outside Jharkhand.

The Telegraph had highlighted the issue in a report on December 4.

More than 400 such commercial vehicles, including trucks, dumpers, pay loaders and even SUVs, are under the scanner for plying with fake local addresses, while in reality, they were registered in Nagaland, Assam, Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana and Bihar years ago. Thus, the district transport department loses Rs 20-25 crore annually in tax from these commercial vehicles.

According to norms, it is mandatory for all vehicles registered outside Jharkhand but plying in the state for more than a year, to get re-registered here. All vehicles that use state roads for over 15 days need to pay taxes.

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