Transport, Food and Civil Supplies and Technical Education Minister G.S. Bali said that the demand of private bus operators to hike bus fares including minimum fares would be discussed at the highest level. Bali revealed this while addressing the private bus operators from all over the State who assembled here to discuss their demands late last evening.

Bali said that the State Government was considerate towards the demands of private bus operators and these would be considered sympathetically. He said that providing best of the transport services to the people of the state was also a priority of the government and appealed to the private bus operators not to resort to strike so as to save people from facing inconvenience. He said that strike was no solution to their demands and all matters would be resolved through negotiations.

Transport minister said that in order to provide better and efficient services to the people and to facilitate Himachal Roadways Transport Corporation (HRTC) and Private bus operators, Electronic Watches would be installed at all the bus stands in the State. It will help in plying of buses on time. He said that private bus operators would be allowed to showcase advertisements on their buses as this will help in generating additional income to them. They will also be allowed to show advertisements on electronic display boards inside the buses, he added. Private Bus Operators would have to share due revenue earned from advertisement with the Transport Department.

Bali said that to provide more facilities to private bus operators, Common facility rooms would be provided in every RTO office of the State besides installing Coolers in all RTO offices in due course of time.

Transport Minister said that passenger safety was of prime concern and 126 driving training schools were imparting best of the driving skills to the unemployed educated youth of the state. He said that private bus operators had been asked to ensure that bus drivers and conductors wear prescribed uniform and name plates and passengers should be provided proper tickets. He directed the officers of the transport department to launch a special drive to detect Contract Carriage vehicles who were transporting passengers without valid permits. He asked the officers to take stern action against operators not adhering to their allotted time tables.

He said that State Government was giving added priority to women empowerment and women and widows would be given tax rebates while issuing road permits. It will help in securing more employment and self employment to them besides generating additional income.

Private bus operators from all over the state requested the Transport Minister to look in to their demands sympathetically. They had full faith in abilities of G.S Bali, they added. They also honoured Bali on the occasion.

Anirudh Singh, MLA, Ali Raza Rizvi, Principal Secretary, Transport, Ritesh Chauhan, Director, Transport, Dr. RN Batta, MD, HRTC, senior officers of transport department and corporation and private operators from all districts of the state were present on the occasion.