Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) and Karnataka State Bus Owners Federation (KSBOF) Bangalore have approached the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a desperate attempt to seek relaxation in the terms of their impending loans. The two bodies representing district association of bus owners operating buses from various districts of state of Karnataka and neighboring states have been facing umpteen troubles right from the onset of lockdown in March. Even after 5 months, over 7,600 stage carriage busses still remain non-operational, with just around 400 resuming operations that too under strict protocols. This has resulted in miserable condition of all transport operators alike.
Right from paying the drivers and conductors to maintaining the vehicles, from fulfilling tax liabilities to meet ends with only half the fare and all of this when fuel prices are mounting, the transport operators are facing an existential crisis like never before. While the state government did help in some regards and even made way for an extension of loan EMIs until after 31st August, the members of BOCI seem to be in no position to meet their EMI obligations starting September, since there has been virtually no improvement in the ill-effects of the pandemic on the sector. To ensure further help to its financially struggling members, BOCI has now approached Prime Minister Modi, seeking a moratorium period on the loan EMIs until December 2020.
With respect to this request, Mr. Rajavarma Ballal, All India Sectorial Vice President of Stage Carriage Service Sector, Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI),said, “State Governments and banks have helped us to some extent by extending the moratorium for a few months, but unfortunately that is not enough to revive the ailing public transport sector. The operators have suffered tremendous losses over the past 6 months, and there is little hope until the services resume fully. Hence, I believe this request is well-founded and must be heeded urgently.”
Mr. Prasanna Patwardhan, President, Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) said, “Our financial troubles don’t seem to end anytime soon. The pandemic is far from over, and we have no idea whatsoever, if or when will we be able to resume operations as before. Until then, an extension of the moratorium period for our Loan EMIs is probably our only hope for survival. Public transport sector has a cascading effect on overall economy, and we urge the Government to take necessary measures before it’s too late.”
BOCI has also sought the help of the local and state governments over the past months in a bid to reduce the financial burdens on the members of the confederation, who have all been suffering at the hands of the pandemic, and the lockdown that ensued as a result of the same. The body now hopes to receive a positive reply from the centre!
Bus Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) was constituted on 4th February 2016. BOCI is a non-government, not-for-profit, Passenger transport industry-led, and managed organization that plays a proactive role in India’s development process. The organization promotes, encourages, and coordinates, safe, and secure passenger transport by coach and buses within India and its nearby countries. It acts as an interface between thought leaders to enhance efficiency, competitiveness, and business opportunities for its members by providing a range of specialized services and strategic global linkages. BOCI provides a platform for consensus-building and networking on key issues amongst its members. The organization brings in all State associations and Unions under one umbrella to achieve better coordination and confidence by establishing a system of Operator accreditation.