Despite the Centre raising petrol and diesel prices, the Himachal Pradesh government will not hike bus fares, Transport Minister Mohinder Singh said on Tuesday.
“The extra burden (due to fuel price hike) will be minimised by checking wasteful expenditures and plugging loopholes in operation of Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses,” the minister said.
The Centre, on July 1, had raised petrol prices by Rs 4 a litre and diesel rates by Rs 2 a litre “because of rising international crude oil prices which have doubled to USD 70 a barrel.”
Singh admitted that the HRTC is incurring an annual loss of Rs eight crore and the consolidated deficit of the Corporation will amount to Rs 440 crore.
The reasons for the loss include concessional travel to student community and free travel to various other sections, he said, adding “out of the total 1900 bus routes, 928 including rural routes are uneconomical”.
The minister said a new policy is on the anvil which would focus on providing more transport facilities in rural areas.
On the shortage of manpower, Singh said about 500 posts of drivers will be filled up soon. “Appointment letters to about 200 candidates have already been issued.”