Himachal Pradesh Government has requested the Union Government to start new centrally sponsored schemes for financing State Governments for improving road travel such as providing way side amenities, building of Transport Nagars, Intelligent Transport System etc.
The demand was made by Himachal Transport Minister G.S. Bali while speaking in 35th meeting of Transport Development Council at New Delhi today. He suggested that Transport Department should be reoriented from purely regulatory functions to a Development Department to strengthen road safety and comfort of travels to its citizens.
He requested the Union Government for providing liberal funding to strengthen State Transport Undertakings by framing appropriate schemes for resource gap funding of State Transport Undertakings. He said that State run HRTC is taking bulk of load of passengers’ services particularly remote areas of the State and added that State Government was providing annual budgetary support of around Rs. 200 crore to the HRTC.
He said that State Government has set up strong regulatory framework to ensure safe travel and added that ten RTOS, three RTO (flying squad) and 12 transport barriers had been set up at important entry points of the State.
G.S. Bali said that State Government would set up Comprehensive Vehicle Tracking System with geo tracking of all commercial and private vehicles in the State. The road ambulance services will be strengthened by providing fully equipped ambulances and hydraulic/fork lift cranes at strategic locations specially on highways. He said that Government had imposed complete ban on use of mobile phones while driving the vehicles and high security registration plates have been introduced in the State.
Transport Minister said that 174 Driving Training Schools had been set up in private and public sector in the State for improving driving skills and added that no new driving license of transport vehicles category would be issued unless the driver has obtained training from approved driving training school.
He informed that 25% of collection under compounding fee has been earmarked for road safety in the State. He said that State Government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy of persuasive, preventive and punitive measures for providing safe, comfortable and efficient transport services to its citizens. He told that State Government had taken various steps like frequent regulatory checks and installation of weigh bridges to check the overloading in goods as well as passenger traffic segments and suggested for increasing penalties under Motor Vehicle Act.
G.S. Bali apprised that State Cabinet has approved the uniform floor rates and pleaded for exemption on excise duty on purchase of chassis for buses.
He supported the introduction of National Permit System for passenger vehicles on lines of goods transport and said that appropriate controls needs to be put in place to check unhealthy competition by way of large number of vehicles opting to plying on Inter-State routes. He also suggested for review of current system of Inter-State agreement governing movement of passengers vehicles and suggested that requirement of giving reciprocal mileage should also be reviewed keeping in view of the corridor requirement for States like Himachal Pradesh.