Shimla, Jul 24
Retaliating on the issue of transfer of Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation Regional Manager Devsen Negi to Chopal at the behast of private bus operators lobby, HRTC staff of Unit 2, choked the Transport of Capital town on Friday evening.
A minor scuffle between the private bus operators and HRTC Management during a Road Transport meeting created massive public inconvenience on Friday evening leaving thousands of comutters at the monopoly of private bus operators to travel in overloaded buses in violation of Covid norms.
Entire staff of Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation of unit-2 suddenly choked the old ISBT Shimla at 1730hrs on Friday in response to the transfer of RM Shimla Devasen Negi to Chopal unit by the State Government.
President HRTC driver conductor union (unit -2) Maan Singh told us that they are seeking withdrawal of transfer of RM with immediate effect. Adding that, if the State Government did not resolve the deadlock, the entire HRTC union may join them shortly.
The Protesting staff alleged that Jai Ram Thakur Government is helping Pvt Bus Operator loby vis a vis HRTC as it’s Officers was transferred to favour the self-styled Pvt bus lobby. They added that the private bus operators are in violation of rules like not following time schedules, over -loading, over speeding and road rage with HRTC on the various routes.
“Unless RM is not restored back to his position we would not run the HRTC fleet in the town,” the Protesting staff alleged as they sat on Dharna at ISBT Shimla.
The commutters were left on the mercy of Pvt bus lobby which loaded the buses many times beyond capacity and also plied their buses beyond their scheduled routes.
Thousands of comuters who tavel in hundreds of routes between Shimla and it’s periphery upto 60 to 65 km were forced to board taxis, take lift, travel in overloaded Pvt buses or walk on foot for miles.
Keeping the public inconvenience in mind this Correspondent tried to contact Chief Minister Liasion office but no response was received.
State Transport Minister was not able to resolve the deadlock till this morning. Many comuters had to faced similar hardships while coming back to their routine business and offices.
The HRTC is already bleeding with accumulated loss of Rs 700 to 800 Cr likely to be further burdened due to apathy of govt and it’s affiliation and affection with the private bus operators as Govt has increased the bus fare twice in last couple of years.
The apathy of State towards the public transport seemed to be not only a matter of policy but many govt and ruling party functionaries are themselves in the business of private Transport as some of them own buses and cabs.
Hundreds of HRTC routes have been in Limbo or inoperative for last one year and hundreds others are being operated less frequently citing lack of passengers and Covid pandemic .