Day after the state government provided partial relief to commuters by reducing the minimum bus fare from Rs. 5 to Rs. 3, transport minister GS Bali on Sunday said the Himachal Pradesh Road Transport (HRTC) has concessional schemes for the daily travellers so that the hiked fares have minimum effect on them.
Addressing a press conference here, Bali said the HRTC will be giving 30% rebate under the green card scheme for people travelling between 40 to 60 kilometers daily, while the already running yellow card scheme will be issued for HRTC passengers on `50 for five years. Earlier the yellow cards were valid were only one year.
He said the senior citizens will be given discount of 20% on travel in HRTC buses. The smart card holders who frequently use public transport will be entitled for 10% discount.
“In fact the bus fare hike is minimal keeping in view the new schemes that have been launched,” Bali said.
He said new schemes would shield the common man in Himachal from the bus fare hike where as the increased fare would maintain the viability of public transport system in view of the increased prices of diesel.
Bali further said that in a bid to improve transportation facility in the state, the government has proposed a project worth Rs. 475 crores to the union government for buying 1,123 new buses under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The project also includes maintenance and construction of new bus stands.
“As the HRTC's fleet will be increased, the government is contemplating new recruitments,” said Bali, adding that HRTC will be needing workforce of 2,500 people.
Bali who also holds portfolio of food and civil supply, said that the keeping in view the increasing prices of foodgrains and pulses, the state government has decided to provide extra financial assistance for the public distribution scheme being run in the state.
The annual expenditure on the scheme is around Rs. 75 crore. He also directed the officials to conduct surprise inspections of fair price shops to check pilferage of subsidised ration.