Day 2 photo of the Assembly budget Session 2023. Photo used for indicative purpose only

Shimla, March 20 – No plan to hike VAT on diesel & petrol : HP CM

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu stated in the State Assembly that government is not planning to hike the value added tax (VAT) on diesel and petrol immediately. He said that efforts are being done to replace them, with fossil fuels. He said more green energy will reduce the cost of operation and will also become a way to leverage the State economy which is currently facing a whooping debt burden.
He said that government is trying to adopt alternative fuels like electricity, solar energy, ammonium and green hydrogen. He said that six corridors across the State have been declared in the budget for 2023-24 where vehicles would be promoted to run on alternative fuel.
He informed the house that for one of the corridor, a tender has been floated with cost of Rs 36 Crore by the State electricity board. The tender to invite application to set up charging stations and other facilities on Kalka -Shimla. While in the rest five corridors infrastructure facilities for alternative fuel are to be developed in a phased manner.
He said this in reply of a supplementary query of MLA Hansraj from BJP.  He said that the government would try to relieve the state from whooping debt by reducing the cost of operation on transport in the state by shifting on green energy.
Deputy Chief Minister who also hold the portfolio of Transport stated that a young member of Assembly Chetanya Sharma raised the query about green energy state should be hailed. Agnihotri stated that in the matter, the Government has evidently indicated its commitment and policy shift in its budget document. Incentives have been announced for promoting green vehicles, as the government would provide upto 50 pc subsidy for switchover to green Taxi, Bus and Trucks. Recharging stations were also being set-up under this policy after announcing incentives on such units in the state. Deputy CM said that after announcing to go green State, this Government would quickly move in this direction to make a policy.
Rajesh Dharmani wanted to know that whether HRTC had deployed electric buses. He wanted to know how much saving is being done from on fuel . Agnihotri said that option is open for allowing PPP investment in the field. Replying to another query about bus route by Cong member Neeraj Nayar, said that government has issued purchase orders of 100 HRTC electric buses to reduce the shortage of buses in the Chamba district. Agnihotri said that buses withdrawn from the routes during Covid lock down could not be restored on ten routes of Chamba district.  He said that in Chopal HRTC depot,  posts of RM and 50 per cent drivers are vacant.
He said that government would restore HRTC bus routes, which are closed on Sundays, on priority basis . Rajinder Rana and Sanjay Rattan of Congress wanted to get restored, all HRTC routes which were not plying since/after covid.



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