The drivers’ front of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) party stressed that the State Government should work in the interest and welfare of drivers of Sikkim.
The drivers’ front of the opposition party alleged that the Government has been collecting a good amount of revenue from drivers but has been totally failed to provide a better facilities and infrastructures to drivers.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, SKM drivers’ front chief coordinator Phula Bhutia mentioned that earlier the department concerned was charging Rs 50 as the special permit from commercial vehicles for three destinations outside the State but presently drivers have been paying Rs 100 just for a single destination as the special permit. He demanded the Government to immediately bring down the special permit charge.
While mentioning that local drivers have still been facing some problems in countersign issue, he stated that as it was the inter-State matter so the Government should immediately have a meeting with their counterparts in West Bengal to address this issue in the interest of local drivers.
On the charge of high security number plates, Bhutia informed that while drivers in other States have been paying around Rs 600 for high security number plates, local drivers of Sikkim had initially paid Rs 2250 and presently they are paying Rs 1450 for high security number plates in Sikkim. He said it was total injustice and the local drivers are being looted.
He demanded that either the local drivers be given liberty to put high security number plates outside the State as per their desired rates or the charges be brought down like other States.
Bhutia also demanded that parking spaces be immediately opened in Singtam shopping complex to address the serious parking issue of the area.
Driver’s front general secretary (north/east), Raju Thatal mentioned that local drivers have been facing the acute problem of parking. He mentioned that the Motor Vehicle Division has continuously been issuing new numbers without reviewing the available parking spaces for these new vehicles. He also stressed that the MV Division should work in close coordination with Gangtok Municipal Corporation and Traffic Division before issuing new numbers to address the parking issue.
Thatal stated that the authority concerned should notify the parking rates to regular random parking fee. He also stressed that concerned authority should talk to the parking contractors to make security arrangements for parked vehicles in parking lots.
In the same vein, driver’s front executive member Mohan Rai mentioned that during registration the Motor Vehicle Division was charging Rs 7000 from a luxury vehicle for all Sikkim route permit for five year till the end of 2017 but now the MV Division has been charging Rs 2000 from a luxury vehicle for a year from the beginning of this year. He also mentioned that apart from increase in the route permit, the administration has been compelling luxury vehicles to pay extra for the permits to restricted areas from coming tourist season in the State.
Rai urged the State Government to immediately give relaxation in these taxes.
SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling alleged that the Government has been collecting a good amount of revenue from drivers but it has not given good facilities and infrastructure facilities for the drivers. He stated that the Government was the champion in collecting taxes but has totally failed in providing facilities, safety and work for the welfare of the drivers.