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Bus operators engaged in movement of people across the country on Tuesday requested the Central and state governments to release a financial package to save the sector from collapse after being hit hard by the COVID-19 enforced lockdown.

They also sought the Centre to waive motor vehicle tax for six months besides deferment of EMI payments for the next 12 months, Bus and Car Operators Confederation of India President, Prasanna Patwardhan said.

"We have over 17 lakh operational buses on Indian roads, out of which, about 1.50 lakh buses are operated by various state transport undertakings. The remaining 15.5 lakh buses carry 30 crore passenger trips run by private operators," Patwardhan said in a statement.

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Being a labour-intensive sector, the association requested the government to support and save the sector from a 'total collapse', he said.

"The fiscal relief sought will help the sector through these tumultuous times," he said.

Tamil Nadu Omni Bus Owners Association president Mohammed Afzal said due to lack of 'flow of funds', the industry has reached 'insolvency' and they were compelled to plead before the government to support the sector.

The officials requested reduction in state tax and cess on diesel for public transport sector vehicles for six months; an online access to interact with regional transport offices for payment of fees, documentation.

The association also sought insurance coverage to drivers during transhipment of essential goods.

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