Hyderabad, Sept 20 (INN): Three major associations representing nearly 750 tour and travel operators in Telangana joined hands on Wednesday to form a Joint Action Committee (JAC) to demand industry status for their businesses and fight for other issues.
The Telangana State Cabs & Bus Operators Association (TSCBOA), Hyderabad Secunderabad Contact Carriage Bus Owners Association (HSCCBOA), and Telangana Tours & Travels Owners Association (TTTOA) formed the Telangana Travels Association JAC. They also announced a three-member body to begin JAC activities. K. Govind Raju, President of HSCCBOA, will be the JAC Chairman; K. Gopal Reddy, President of TTTOA, will be the JAC President; and Syed Nizamuddin, President of TSCBOA, has been appointed the JAC General Secretary. The JAC will be expanded further by including more representatives of all three associations.
JAC General Secretary Syed Nizamuddin informed that the travel operators have been facing many problems related to travel permits, road tax systems, harassment by traffic police, increase in taxes, lack of support and compensation from the government, and driver safety. A three-member committee comprising Maozam Ahmed, Kota Srinivas Rao, and Konda Venkatesh Goud was constituted to bring the three major associations under one platform. Subsequently, the JAC was formed to take up the issues concerning the travel industry.
He said the JAC’s major demand is the grant of industry status, which would not only benefit the tours and travel operators but also protect lakhs of jobs, boost tourism, and create new jobs in the longer run.
Nizamuddin highlighted several specific issues that the JAC will take up on priority. He said that the travel operators have been facing huge problems due to the non-implementation of the Gentlemen’s Agreement between the Southern States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The agreement facilitates the free movement of buses carrying tourists between the southern States. However, the agreement lapsed in 2017 and it was not renewed. Now the travel operators of Telangana are forced to pay border tax to carry passengers to those States. This has increased the cost of travel and discouraged the tourists from hiring buses for pilgrimages and other tours, he said.
Further, the bus operators are facing problems due to lack of parking spaces. He said that the operators pay heavy amounts towards road tax and permits. However, they do not get any facility in return, especially the parking space near tourist places like Salar Jung Museum, Chow Mohalla Palace, etc, Consequently, the bus operators are being imposed heavy fines for wrong parking which is badly hitting the revenues.
Despite giving priority to road safety, there’s a lack of importance given to driver safety. Drivers are sometimes forced to carry passengers who are highly intoxicated, and they face risks during their work hours. Further, the drivers don’t receive compensation for damages to their vehicles or medical costs when they’re attacked. The government needs to intervene on this issue and take immediate measures to resolve these issues.
JAC Chairman Govind Raju and President Gopal Reddy said that the JAC would give representations to the authorities concerned seeking resolution of their problems. Further, they warned of agitation if the State Government fails to resolve the issues concerning the travel operators.