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A bankrupt Kerala businessman sells a 50-lakh-rupee luxury bus for 45Rs/kg

A 40-seater luxury vehicle costs around Rs 50 lakhs, and the entrepreneur sold it for Rs 45 per kg; he had 20 buses before the outbreak, but now only has ten

A bankrupt Kerala businessman sells a 50-lakh-rupee luxury bus for 45Rs/kg

Many businesses have suffered losses as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic. In Kochi, Kerala, a similar incident occurred with the owner of a luxury bus. A heartbroken Kochi bus owner made his intentions known by announcing his intention to sell his last 10 luxury coaches for Rs 45 per kilo.

Royson Joseph, a Kochi local, has had a difficult time, and prior to the pandemic, he owned 20 buses of varying sizes. He is now down to ten buses after two years. After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Contract Carriage Owners Association (CCOA) is in dire straits. The CCOA has 3,500 members in Kerala who own approximately 14,000 buses.

"Things have become tough, and my family and I are finding the situation tough. All my buses have taxes to the tune of Rs 44,000 and insurance of around Rs 88,000 that has to be paid. Last week when the Sunday lockdown was there, even when the rules stipulated that prior booked travel is possible, I was asked to pay a fine of Rs 2,000 by the police during a tourist trip to Kovalam. We are being harassed for no reason, and today, at the click of a button, if authorities punch in the vehicle registration number, they can get if our papers are in order. Still, despite all that, we are being fleeced," Joseph said.

According to CCOA president Binu John, this isn't the first time tourist vehicles have been sold by the kilogramme.

"Many have done it, but they did not want to make the news out of shame. Joseph was very frank, and his problems are the same in the industry here, and bus owners are in deep trouble as none of the restructuring moratorium announced has come in full steam for various reasons," said John.

"After the restrictions were lifted, around 2,000 buses of our members have been confiscated for non-payment of monthly instalments. In the past two years, the Kerala government has waived taxes for three quarters; in one quarter, we got a 50 per cent rebate, and for another quarter, we got a 20 per cent rebate in quarterly tax. But these have not given the real solace at all. All our members are in dire straits, and we need more help from the government," added John.

A 40-seater luxury bus costs more than Rs 50 lakhs, and it needs to make at least 20 trips each month to break even under typical circumstances. There are now just five travels per month due to the Covid guidelines.

The CCOA expects the state and the Centre to lend a helping hand, as bus owners like Joseph have already decided to sell it for Rs 45 a kilo; if not, the industry could face much more trouble.

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