Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 14 July 2024 3.43 PM IST

Buses being halted in Tamil Nadu


Hundreds of students and youngsters go to Tamil Nadu from Kerala for studies, jobs in the IT sector etc. Out of this, only a small percentage get a seat in the train. That too is available to those who book months in advance. Those who are more financially capable will depend on flights, but they too have to pay exorbitant rates if they don't buy tickets in advance. So most of the people mainly rely on inter-state private bus services to go to Chennai and other places. Their biggest selling point is that on boarding the bus in the evening, one can reach Chennai in the morning. Therefore, mostly young people rely on such services.

Although the ticket price increases during the season, these private services are a great boon to people who do urgent and neceassary travels. But in the past few days such bus services were blocked at Tamil Nadu borders highlighting the issue of vehicle tax, which caused difficulties for many Malayalee passengers. The taxes are paid according to the 'One India One Tax' scheme implemented by the Centre, the officials of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicle Department are stopping the buses demanding higher tax on the vehicles which are not registered in Tamil Nadu. On Wednesday night, buses going from Thiruvananthapuram to Bengaluru, Chennai and Pondicherry were stopped at Nagercoil and passengers, including women, who were traveling alone at night, were made to deboard the bus. The passengers who protested were told that a case would be filed and they would be taken into custody.

Those who hesitated to travel in the middle of the night without any security had to pay again and continue their journey in Tamil Nadu's bus and other modes of transport. Dropping women, children, etc. on the road in the middle of the night is not a proper act on account of any issue. If the Kerala government had done the same thing, the Tamil Nadu government would have reacted severely. The Association of Private Tourist Bus Owners and others say that buses coming from Tamil Nadu will be stopped. This is not what is needed. Instead there should be intervention at the government level. The Chief Minister and the Transport Minister should take this matter to the administrative leadership of Tamil Nadu and seek a solution to the problem as it is the passengers from Kerala who are suffering due to this problem.

Likewise, the central government is also responsible for resolving the crisis. The 'One India One Tax' scheme was devised and implemented by the Centre. Blocking the route of those who follow this is tantamount to destroying the credibility of this scheme and is against the federal principles. Tamil Nadu had come up against this scheme when it started. The bus owners approached the court last November and got a favourable order. Tamil Nadu's contention is that only vehicles taking people from the road are being blocked. So the concerned parties should approach the top courts to resolve this issue.

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