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STAT order on cancellation of buses’ permits exposed those who looted Punjab: Minister

Punjab Transport Minister Amarinder Singh Raja Warring addressing the media in Chandigarh on November 24, 2021. Photo: DPR

Chandigarh, Nov 24 (MNN) Punjab Transport Minister Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said on Wednesday that State Transport Appellate Tribunal (STAT) order on Transport Department’s action to cancel 806 permits of illegally plying buses has “exposed those who plundered Punjab and its people for private gains”.

He said that the tribunal ruling is also a vindication of the Punjab government’s stand against illegal multiple extensions given in route permits over the years.

The tribunal on Wednesday upheld the Transport Department’s order to cancel extension in original permits beyond 24km given to a large number of transporters, in line with a judgment given by Justice Surya Kant of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Minister asserted that no one will be allowed to play with state revenue at any cost, rejecting the charges of political vendetta levelled by Akali leader Sukhbir Singh Badal.

“Those who were made to pay Rs14 crore in taxes to the Transport Department are now crying foul,” Warring quipped.

He said he was not surprised at Sukhbir’s “frustration” as he had been called out for allegedly looting Punjab, adding that it was beneath his dignity to even respond to the language used against him by the former Deputy Chief Minister.

Warring claimed that the 2021 High Court judgment was not getting implemented in Punjab, adding that illegal operation of buses for around 1 lakh km distance through multiple extensions in route permits across state have been cancelled after he took charge on September 29.

A total of 682 orders were passed to cancel 806 permits, regarding which 114 companies approached STAT, including Jujhar Transport.

Warring said that the loss to the department due to non-implementation of the court judgment came to Rs1,380 crore in the last nine years if calculated at the rate of Rs 42 per km of revenue per day recorded in October.

The daily illegal income to private transporters, of which 50 per cent belongs to the Badals and another 30 per cent to their associate companies is Rs 42 lakh per day, Warring claimed.

The Minister also said that as per Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s announcement, tax waiver for auto-rickshaws will be implemented.

The Transport Commissioner had cancelled extension in original bus permits beyond 24 km issued earlier to a large number of Punjab transporters. One such order was passed on October 18, cancelling the extension with immediate effect.

The private transporters approached the Tribunal on November 1 against the decision and it stayed the October 18 order. The government challenged the November 1 order in the High Court.

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