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HRTC Yield to People After Continuous Protest of Two Days, Agrees to Fulfill All Nine Demands

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CPIM Protest against HRTC 2

Shimla-After a continuous protest of two days, the Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation had to yield to the people and accept their demands.

HRTC has been in controversy over its degrading quality of service, shortage of staff, favouring private bus operators, running old and poorly maintained buses etc.

After one of the most tragic bus accidents that occurred in Banjar of Kullu district in June 2019, the transport department came under immense pressure to check overloading and monitor irregularities in the passing of old, unmaintained buses.

This controversy was fuelled after two children and driver were killed in the accident of an HRTC’s school bus in Lower Khalini of Shimla district.

Following these incidents, HRTC showed strictness toward overloading in its buses but did not arrange for additional services, which led to the suffering of commoners and school children, especially in rural areas of the state. Further, several bus routes, especially those having single HRTC bus service, were suspended. As a result, private buses on these routes began to encash this opportunity. The locals alleged that while no overloading was allowed in HRTC buses, private buses were plying jam-packed without any restriction.

It was alleged that HRTC was deliberately trying to benefit private bus operators and that it was inclined towards privatisation of its own services, which invited ire from the public.

On June 11, locals from various villagers and various sections, led by sitting MLA of Theog Constituency, Rakesh Singha, and former Mayor of Shimla city, Sanjay Chauhan, had staged an aggressive protest at the office of the Managing Director, HRTC. The protestors were given assurances, which were not fulfilled.

Protest Against HRTC

On July 30, a large number of people, under the banner of Communist Party of India (Marxist), opened a front against the HRTC and held a protest demonstration over several demands. Initially, the officials of HRTC tried to avoid confrontation with these protestors and did not attend to them. It further infuriated the people who then decided to continue the protest until they are not attended and their demands were not met. The protestors, including Rakesh Singha and Sanjay Chauhan, spent the night at the HRTC building in Old ISBT and continued their protest on July 31 as well.

CPIM protest at HRTC Office

Eventually, the administration of HRTC found it hard to ignore these people and had to meet a delegation. This delegation included Rakesh Singh, Sanjay Chauhan, Phalma Chauhan, Balbir Prashar, and Kuldeep Sing Tanwar. The protest was ended after the Principal Secretary, HRTC, in the presence of several other officials, yielded to all nine demands raised by the delegation.

In this meeting, HRTC management agreed to fulfil the following demands,

  1. HRTC will operate all the sanctioned routes, especially where a single HRTC bus is available, regularly and ensure punctual and timely service on such routes.
  2. In relation to charter buses being provided to various schools in Shimla, it was clarified that these buses will continue to ply and will only be withdrawn when these institutions would buy their own buses.
  3. HRTC agreed to review the matter relating to the fact that while private buses were given routes up to Old ISBT, HRTC buses were terminating their route at New ISBT, Tutikandi, which was causing inconvenience to the public as well as leading to decrease in receipt to HRTC.
  4. The delegations pointed out that most of the operational dislocations were taking place due to an abnormal shortage of operation staff. HRTC agreed to speed up the process of filling up the operation posts. Also, the Corporation also agreed to consider an extension to retired staff in order to avoid dislocation of services till new staff is recruited.
  5. HRTC also agreed to utilize unused JNNURM buses and put them on the road as soon as possible. On the poor condition of old buses, HRTC said no compromise was being made with the passenger safety.
  6. HRTC agreed to withdraw buses which were condemned by HRTC but were still operating as school buses. The Director Transport would be asked to identify such buses and take suitable action to ensure safety.
  7. The delegation also pointed out that the number of multi-axle contract carriage buses plying on fixed timings/routes illegally was increasing in the state. HRTC agreed to check the operation of such buses.
  8. HRTC agreed to identify routes on roads constructed under PMGSY where no stage carriage bus services were provided and start bus services on them.
  9. The Corporation also accepted the long pending demand of starting Shimla-Shillai bus service. It said the bus service would start soon, leaving Shimla at 8 am.  

The delegation decided to end the current protest but said that it will continue to protest against policies of the government to privatise transport services in the state.  

 

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Misc News/Press Release

Control Rooms Established in Every State for Himachali’s Stuck Outside, View All Contacts

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HP Covid-19 control rooms for himachali's stuck outside state

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government today informed that that control rooms have been set up and made functional in all the states of country so that anyone in need can call for help.

The government said that those Himachali who are staying outside the State, can call at following numbers for any assistance.

  1. Andhra Pradesh-    9440484879 and 08662488000
  2. Arunachal Pradesh-   0360-2005159, 0360-2005160 and 09436074396
  3. Assam-   0361-2237219, 2217786 and 0361-2237011 (Fax)
  4. Bihar-   0612-2217305 and 0612-2217786 (Fax)
  5. Chhattisgarh-   0771-2221242 and 0771- 2223471
  6. Goa-   2419439 and 2419444
  7. Gujrat-   079-23251900 and 079-23251509
  8. Haryana-   0172-2711925 and 0172-2545938
  9. Jammu and Kashmir-   0194-2477261, 2455165 and 2484837
  10. Jharkhand-  0651-2446923, 2400218 and 0651-2446923 (Fax)
  11. Karnataka-   080-22032416/1070 and 080-22340676 (Fax)
  12. Kerala-   0471-2364424, 0471-2331639 and 0471-2333198 (Fax)
  13. Madhya Pradesh-   0755-2441419 and 0755-2440032 (Fax)
  14. Maharashtra-   022-22027990, 022-22025274 and 022-22026712 (Fax)
  15. Manipur-   0385-2450301
  16. Meghalaya-   0364-2502098 and 2225669
  17. Mizoram-   0389-2342520 and 0389-2306518 (Fax)
  18. Nagaland-   0370-2291120, 2291122 and 08731009677
  19. New Delhi-   1077
  20. Odisha-   0674- 2395398, 0674- 2534177 and 0674-2391871 (Fax)
  21. Punjab-   0172-2749901
  22. Rajasthan-   0141-2227296, 0141-5110869 and 0141-2227230 (Fax)
  23. Sikkim-   03592-201145 and 03592-201075 (Fax)
  24. Tamil Nadu-   044-28593990, 044-8592921 (Fax), 044-28414553, 044-28550867 (Fax) and 044-28528745,
  25. Telangana-   040-23454088
  26. Tripura-   0381-2416045 and 0381- 2418053
  27. Uttar Pradesh-   0522-2237515 and 2238084 (Fax)
  28. Uttarakhand-   0135-2710334, 6555523, 2710232, 2710081, 09557444486 and 0135-2710335 (Fax)
  29. West Bengal-  033-22143526 and 033-22144005(F)

 

Besides this, the control room numbers of Himachal Pradesh are 0177-2622204, 0177-2628940, 2629688, 2629939 and 0177-2621154 (Fax) and people who need any kind of assistance in the State can call at these numbers.

State Government said 1077 is the toll-free number of disaster control rooms set up in all districts of the State, which are named as Emergency Operation Centers and migrants living in different parts of the State.  Anyone who is in need of assistance in the form of food and shelter can call at this number.  He said that this toll-free number is operation 24×7. Call made by a caller will get connected in the control room of concerned district automatically.

 

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Validity of Expired Driving Licenses, Vehicle Registration, All Permits Extended Till June 30

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Validity of expired licenses and vehicle permits extended

Shimla-The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has extended the validity of documents like driving licenses, permits and registration that expired since February 1. In an advisory to all states and Union Territories, the Ministry has asked them to treat such documents as valid till June 30.

The decision was taken to facilitate people facing difficulties in renewing the validity of various motor vehicle documents due to nationwide lockdown in the country and closure of government transport offices.

The documents include fitness, permits (all types), driving licence, registration or any other concerned document under the Motor Vehicle Rules.

The ministry has requested all states to implement the advisory in “letter and spirit” so that the people and transporters and organisations rendering essential services do not get harassed and face difficulties.

 

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Misc News/Press Release

Lockdown in Himachal Extended till April 14, All Educational Institutes, Govt Offices to Remain Closed

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lockdown in Himachal PRadesh extended

Shimla-The Department of Health and Family Welfare, Himachal Pradesh, today issued a fresh notification extending the lockdown till April 14, 2020.

“It has been deemed appropriate that the restrictions imposed and the preventive measures adopted may be contained in the public interest,”

the notification said.

Therefore, under the HP Epidemic Disease (COVID-19) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020, it has been directed that restrictions on the movement of public/vehicles, opening of public offices, facilities, shops, commercial establishments, factories, workshops, godowns etc, will continue.

All government offices will remain closed, and the employees have been directed to remain at their homes and follow all the social distancing guidelines.

Further, all social, cultural, sports, political, religious, academic, family mass gatherings of any would remain banned. All interstate and intrastate movement of public and private stage and contract carriages including taxis, auto-rickshaws etc. is prohibited. There will be a total prohibition on movement or playing of trains and commercial aircraft.

Permission to drive private vehicles would be given only if essentially required for visiting hospitals and for availing maintenance of essential services.

However, this prohibition would not apply to offices, organizations, commercial establishments, factories, institutions, godowns, shops, stores, production units, vehicles, hospitals, petrol pumps, oil agencies, e-commerce delivery units etc, charged with essential and emergency services as notified by the Government of India, the State Government or the concerned District Magistrate from time to time.

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