Dharamshala: Around 3500 passenger buses of the 400 private operators shall go off road indefinably in Himachal from Monday to press their long pending demands. Their main demand is to raise the minimum bus fare from rs 3 to rs 10/- ,at par to their counterparts of Punjab and Haryana.
Rajiv Mahajan ,a bus operator of Dharamshala said , The minimum bus fare rs 3 was fixed when the diesel rate was rs 48 a litter, the diesel is now inflated to rs74/- a litter. It is now impossible to run the services on old rates.”
He said that government of the state has also levied huge green tax on private operators, which must be reduced.
Mr Ajay Singh another bus operator said that most of the operators are under the heavy bank loans and as per present conditions they can’t save to deposited their bank instalments.
“The transport has now become a business of loss . We are running almost equal share of the number of buses to government run Himachal Road Transport Corporation HRTC and helping the government in providing transport facility in the state ,which lack rail network even today. The no response attitude of the state government on our genuine demands has forced us to take such extreme step, “said Singh
The operators said that they are also demanding the government to role back the decision to stop running of busses more than 5 years old.
The transport minister was unavailable to comment on this strike.
Himachal is the state which heavily depends on the road transportation and if this strike starts, the state may come to stand still.
It is coincident that this strike is starting on the day when state congress is giving call for a Bharat Band in the state.