Nurpur, April 17
The private bus operators in the state are upset over the HP Government’s decision to grant 50% concession in fare to women passengers in HRTC buses from July.
Ravi Dutt Sharma, president, Kangra District Private Bus Operators’ Welfare Society, said here today the Covid pandemic had sounded death knell for private bus operators during the past two years and now they were apprehending adverse impact of the government’s proposed move on their business. “Women passengers will prefer to travel only in Himachal Road Transport Corporation buses along with their family members,” he lamented.
Taking a jibe at the announcement by the state government, Sharma said if the state government didn’t need revenue, the government should waive Special Road Tax (SRT) and token tax of the private bus operators and grant full fare concession to women across the state. He alleged that the HRTC was collecting SRT and insurance amount from passengers but neither the SRT was deposited with state exchequer nor any insurance was being done of its buses whereas private bus operators had to procure no-objection certificate (NOC) from the regional transport authority after clearing outstanding taxes and getting annual insurance cover for procuring mandatory fitness certificate for their buses every year.
He also showed an HRTC bus ticket to mediapersons where an insurance amount of Rs 6 is charged from a passenger travelling from Chamba to Gagal. “The HRTC doesn’t require NOC for its buses’ annual fitness certificates. At present, the HRTC has to pay an outstanding tax amount to the tune of crores of rupees to the state government but neither the government nor the HRTC is serious about it,” he said. He alleged the HRTC was not providing a level-playing field for the private bus operators. —