KOCHI: The taxi operators in the state are up in arms against the motor vehicles department sending them notices for one-time payment of vehicle tax for 10 years. Although MVD officials say that the order was in tune with the changes brought about in the Kerala Motor Vehicles Taxation Act in 2014, many feel that finance minister Thomas Isaac, facing an overall crunch in resource mobilisation, has chosen taxi owners as an easy target to shore up the revenue collection.
"Last week I received a notice from MVD to pay Rs 22,000 as tax towards the next 10 years. It is not possible for me to raise such an amount at short notice," said Binu who has a Ford Figo vehicle running as a taxi in Kochi. Arun, another taxi operator with a Tata Indigo, also received a notice for the payment of taxes for 10 years. Both Arun and Binu have paid taxes for five years when they bought the vehicles and still have two more years to complete five years. "The government action is inexplicable as there is no compulsion that we should drive the same vehicle for the next 10 years," said Binu.
"Normally people like us will use a vehicle for five or six years before selling it and opt for a new one," he added. "Why should we be compelled to pay for the 15-year life cycle of a vehicle when there is no guarantee that we will use the vehicle for that many years," he said. Babu, a Uber taxi operator, said the government policy of squeezing the maximum out of the utilities such as taxi services will kill the sector. "Already many people are leaving the profession due to the unbearable cost burden," he said. He had received a notice for paying Rs 32,000 towards the tax for the next 10 years.