As a novel way of agitation, bus operators will halt at the Maharashtra-Goa border to protest against taxes. Tourists will have to make alternate arrangements for entering the state after reaching the Goa border. Private bus operators across Maharashtra, including Mumbai are agitating against the new taxes that are being charged by the Goa state government on buses entering the state.
“Buses from the state won’t be entering Goa as a mark of protest,” said Malik Patel, joint secretary, Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatna. Bus unions claim that government of Goa has been charging Rs 1000 from every bus that enters the state as entry tax. “They are charging Rs 250 for 4-wheelers and Rs 500 from six-wheelers for entering Goa,” said a member of All India Motor Transport Congress that has also joined the protest.
To add to the bus operators’ woes, the Goa government is likely to charge another passenger tax, which is about 300 per cent of the bus fare. Bus operators said that if this tax is levied it will lead to hike in fares for passengers. Currently, cost of each ticket to Goa from Mumbai is about Rs 800-900, but if the tax comes in play the fares will be hiked to about Rs 3,000 per ticket which is as much as a flight ticket during off season.
“We are already paying road tax and RTO taxes so why is there a need for adding more burden,” said another union member. The unions fear that if they don’t protest now then the Maharashtra government too might come up with similar taxes.