Truckers threaten strike over green tax
Cuttack: The Odisha State Truck Owners' Federation has threatened to go on strike from December 15 midnight if the state government does not withdraw the green tax it has introduced for vehicles, which have crossed 15 years.
"We have given a 15-day ultimatum to the state government. We will be left with no option but to go on strike if the state government does not withdraw the levy on more than 15-year-old vehicles or come to the negotiation table," the federation's general secretary Rabi Narayan Satpathy said on Friday.
The state government on November 21 introduced green tax on old vehicles, which have crossed 15 years, to discourage such vehicles to ply on roads as they are causing damage to life and property.
According to the new tax norms, owners of such vehicles will have to shell out Rs 4,000 every year at time of getting the fitness certificate.
However, the federation said the green tax was "highly regressive in nature". Besides, it is "arbitrary" as no state government, except Tamil Nadu, has imposed it so far, it contends.
According to the federation, there are around two lakh trucks in the state and over 50,000 of them are more than 15 years old.
The All India Motor Transport Congress has also expressed support to the federation's demand.
Federation president Bibhuti Prasad Das said the green tax would add to the burden of increased cost of operation due to revision in road tax and high sales tax on diesel without any tariff hike since 2008. The state government charges 26 per cent sales tax on diesel as against 18 per cent and less in other states.
"As part of our demands, we have sought scaling down of sales tax ob diesel to 12 per cent," Das said.
The federation members were aggrieved as the state government had not increased tariff rate for trucks (Rs 21.62 paise per km per 10 tonnes) since 2008 even as price of diesel had gone up from Rs 35 to Rs 63. "The tariff for trucks had not been increased since 2008 despite three recommendations for it by the technical committee between 2008 and 2013," Das said.
The revised quarterly road taxes for trucks are Rs 19,000 from Rs 17,192 for 10 wheelers, Rs 26,000 from Rs 21,692 for 12 wheelers and Rs 32,000 from Rs 26,192 for 14 wheelers. Road tax had remained unchanged at Rs 2,610 in case of six-wheelers trucks.