Himachal Roadways draws plans to replace 1000 buses

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GShimla: To replace run down buses with new ones, the transport ministry has drawn up plans to buy 1000 new buses and has sought funding from the union government for another 1000 buses under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Talking to reporters today HRTC bus serviceafter holding a high level meeting, GS Bali, transport minister said that order for replacing 500 buses would follow in a week and another 500 would be bought in phases.

“Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has cleared the proposal and the transport corporation has Rs 100 Cr ready for starting the purchase process,” he said.

The department has categorized 13 urban clusters and a project for JNNURM funding for another 1000 buses has been put forth to the union government, he added. Some of the clusters identified are Rampur, Shimla, Bilaspur, Mandi, Hamirpur, Dharamshala-Kangra, Palampur-Baijnath, Nurpur-Jassur and others.

Referring to the recent meeting of Himachal cabinet ministers with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said, as a follow up to the meeting a Rs 100 Cr rural connectivity project was under preparation.”

A dozen deluxe buses that were completely run down are being replaced soon. The luxury bus service segment from 40 buses would be expanded to 50, said the minister.

To encourage e-ticketing and advance booking, the minister announced a 5% rebate for those who availed such services. Tour operators who make bulk advance booking too would get 5 percent commission from the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC).

The corporation would also undertake a comprehensive revamp of their software to track the fleet at any point of time as well as improving online inquiry and booking facilities.

The minister claimed that in 8 months, since the new government took over, revenues of HRTC had increased by 10 percent but they were not enough to wipe out the Rs 380 crore of accumulated losses from previous years.

The bus stand management board had decided to build 12 new bus stands Private Public Partnership or Build Operate Transfer basis. “We would be inviting expression of interest for new bus stands at Parwanoo, Dhalli, Mandi, Baddi, Lakkar Bazar, Chamba, Nurpur, Kullu, Manikaran, Palampur and Nahan.

Speaking about tomorrow’s launch of the food security scheme, Bali who is also minister for food and civil supplies said that the states food scheme that provides subsidized food items like pulses, cooking oil, salt to all would continue to operation in addition to Shiri Rajiv Gandhi Ann Purn Yojna.

Editor-Reporter with Hill Post, Ravinder Makhaik as a journalist has for over two decades worked for India’s leading newspapers and television networks.

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