Cabs, private buses go off roads in Hyderabad

June 5th, 2008 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, June 5 (IANS) More than 25,000 cabs and private buses went off the roads here Thursday as the owners began an indefinite strike demanding withdrawal of Value Added Tax (VAT) imposed on them. The strike, which began at midnight Wednesday, hit hard people travelling to and from the airport as well as IT companies and call centres, which provide pick up and drop facilities for their employees.

The Greater Hyderabad Cabs and Bus Operators Association (GHCBOA) called the strike to protest against the state government decision to impose 12.5 percent VAT. The talks between the government and the cab operators failed to resolve the issue.

“The move to impose VAT is hitting us hard. We are already paying service tax and VAT will further burden us,” said M.K. Sultania, president of GHCBOA.

The commuters to Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad, about 35 km from the city, were the worst hit. Every day about 20,000 people commute to the airport, which was opened two months ago.

The airport operators and state-owned Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corp (APSRTC) are operating additional buses from various points in the city to ensure that the air passengers were not put to inconvenience.

The cabs also hit the IT/BPO companies in this IT hub. Every day over 100,000 employees of these companies commute by cabs. The APSRTC operated additional buses but the employees still had a tough time reaching their offices.

The APSRTC is also operating additional buses from Secunderabad and Nampally railway stations, the Imlibun bus station and other junctions.

Adding to the commuters’ woes, auto-drivers have also decided to go on strike from Thursday midnight to demand a hike in minimum fare.

The Telangana Auto Drivers Joint Action Committee decided to go on strike demanding hike in the minimum fare from Rs.9 to Rs. 17 per km, following a hike in petrol prices.

A majority of the over 60,000 three-wheelers are likely to take part in the strike.

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