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Saturday,23-January-2021

Business

Goa waives 50% road tax for commercial vehicles

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The Goa Cabinet on Wednesday decided to waive 50 per cent road tax levied on commercial vehicles in the state during fiscal 2020-21, in order to compensate owners for the period such vehicles were off roads during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Half of the commercial vehicles’ road tax has been waived till March 31, 2021. The Cabinet took the decision because commercial vehicles were not used for at least six months from March 2020 onwards. They won’t have to pay a penalty or interest,” Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.

The decision comes in wake of demands made by various public transport associations, which had said that their members would not be in a position to pay the full annual road tax, because most vehicles could not ply due to the lockdown.

Sawant also said that the Goa government would promote plantation of commercial trees varieties like khair, sandalwood, teak and rosewood on private non-forest land in Goa by simplifying regulations.

“Those opting for such commercial plantations will have to take the required permission from the Forest Department beforehand. They will not have to approach the Forest Department to cut the trees after five or more years,” Sawant said.

Business

Maruti Suzuki sells over 160,700 units of Swift in CY 2020

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Automobile manufacturer Maruti Suzuki has sold over 160,700 units of its premium hatchback Swift in CY 2020.

According to the company, over 2.3 million units of the premium hatchback have been sold in the past 15 years.

“Maruti Suzuki Swift has been the best-selling premium hatchback in the country for the past 15 years with over 2.3 million delighted customers,” said Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director (Marketing & Sales), Maruti Suzuki India Limited.

“Despite the adverse impact of Covid-19, brand Swift sold over 160,700 units in CY 2020, emerging as the top brand in the pecking order.”

In addition, the company said: “With more than 53 per cent of customers below the age of 35 years, Maruti Suzuki Swift has established itself as the ‘Coming of the age’ car with tech-savvy features, value-for-money offerings and sporty design”.

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Tata Motors launches hatchback Altroz’s i-Turbo variant

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Automobile manufacturer Tata Motors on Saturday launched the ‘i-Turbo’ variant of its premium hatchback, Altroz.

The variant’s petrol version starts at Rs 8.25 lakh while the diesel version costs Rs 9.45 lakh.

As per the company, ‘iRA’ comes with 27 connected car features along with natural voice tech, through which the car understands commands not only in ‘English or Hindi, but also in Hinglish’.

Besides, it is India’s first hatchback to introduce What3Words technology – a precise & unique tool that makes navigation easier than before.

The new variant is powered by a 1.2L turbocharged BS6 petrol engine.

Additionally, the Company has added a new top of the line ‘XZ+’ variant in a petrol and diesel fuel option to the Altroz family.

Tata Altroz was the first product on the ‘ALFA’ architecture.

It was launch in January 2020. Over 50,000 Altroz units have been sold within its first year of the vehicle’s launch.

“We are delighted to share that with its introduction, in FY21, our market share in the hatchback category has increased by 5.4 per cent compared to last fiscal and we have captured 17 per cent market share in the premium hatch segment,” said Shailesh Chandra – President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors.

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IndiGo to start Agra-Bengaluru flight from March

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As part of its strategy to bolster its regional connectivity, IndiGo has announced Agra as its 64th domestic destination. The airline will connect Agra to Bengaluru and Bhopal through direct flights under the RCS scheme from March 28.

A weekly flight to Goa is also likely to start early February, sources said.

The bookings are open with one-way fares starting at Rs 2,523 for Bhopal and Rs 3,789 for Bengaluru.

Sanjay Kumar, Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to have the Golden Triangle cities mapped on the 6E network, with the addition of Agra as our 64th domestic destination. This will not only enhance connectivity for domestic travellers, but also aid in expanding international air traffic once restrictions are lifted and travel opens up. Additionally, these connections will help promote tourism, trade and commerce, with Agra being home to multiple UNESCO world heritage sites, one of the hubs for leather goods production and known for its food and delicacies.”

The Agra tourism industry is upbeat as it expects a big inflow of tourists, both domestic and foreign, in the coming days. The industry had long been demanding air connectivity from Agra to major destinations in India. A lone flight to Jaipur was also halted some months ago.

The last 10 months saw a major setback to tourism, with the footfall of foreign tourists falling to just one per cent. The Taj Mahal and other monuments remained closed due to Covid-19 for over six months.

With restrictions now removed, the flow of visitors has increased and the hospitality industry is hoping to make good in the coming months. The daily evening cultural show at the Kalakriti Auditorium – Mohabbat the Taj – has resumed, as weekend crowds have begun thronging Agra again.

The inter-state buses have also begun operations, particularly to Delhi, from Monday, bringing relief to thousands of commuters heading for Palwal, Faridabad, Gurugram and other neighbouring areas.

Welcoming the announcement by IndiGo to start daily flights from Agra to Bangalore, Bhopal and Lucknow, Sunil Gupta, chairman IATO, northern region said “Tourists were hesitant to visit Agra as there are no flights which are usually considered very safe during the pandemic. We are hoping the number of visitors will now increase. We have demanded international flights also from Agra.”

Vice president of the Tourism Guild, Rajiv Saxena said “the flights will be very helpful and boost tourism in Agra. For the tourists, it will be such a big help as travel time would be reduced.”

Before the pandemic, Agra was annually visited by more than seven million tourists. “With three World Heritage monuments, and a number of other tourist attractions, plus Mathura and Vrindavan close by, Agra badly needed air connectivity. But due to pressure from the Delhi lobby of hoteliers and travel agents, all kinds of hurdles were being created, but now the Modi government has taken a huge initiative which should see a turnaround in the fortunes of the hospitality industry in Agra,” said founder president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association, Surendra Sharma.

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