Shimla: As many as 317 interstate bus services are set to resume from July 1 onwards. The interstate bus services were halted due to the increasing cases of coronavirus.

Out of these, 15 would be Volvo buses, four deluxe and 298 ordinary buses. The bus services will be carried out by strictly following Covid-19 protocols.

The government has also decided that buses being used from the last nine years and having zero book value would be recommended for condemnation.

Besides this, the state government has also decided to purchase as many as 205 diesel buses would be purchased by spending Rs. 86.15 crore. Out of these, 115 would be 47-seater ordinary buses, 30 would be 37-seater ordinary buses, 50 would be 3×2 seats AC buses, five 2×2 seats AC super luxury buses and five tempo travellers would be separately purchased for Bharmour area of Chamba district.

While presiding over the Board of Directors meeting of Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC), Transport Minister Bikram Singh assessed the work progress of HRTC and emphasized to work with due diligence keeping in view the priority of works.

He also expressed satisfaction over the progress in works being executed under HRTC and said that the Corporation was functional even during the pandemic and was serving the people with commitment.

He said that the matter regarding construction of commercial complex-cum-parking at Una bus stand would be executed immediately. He suggested the officers to utilize the funds under smart city projects at Shimla and Dharamshala for the upgradation, modification and improvement of facilities under HRTC and transport department.

It was also decided in the meeting that relief would be given on the annual concession fees to the beneficiaries of PPP projects of Tutikandi (Shimla), Kangra, Chintpurni and Una bus stands.

“This relief would be applicable on the annual concession fees during the first wave of Covid-19. The civil wing of bus stand management and development authority at Nagrota Bagwan would be re-opened and technical staff would be posted in this wing,” said Singh.

He further said that the bus depots at Dharampur and Jogindernagar of district Mandi would be fully operationalized at the earliest to facilitate the people of these areas. Besides this, ex-post-facto approval was accorded for bus sub-depot at Janjehli in Mandi district. Singh said that new bus stand would be made functional at Sansarpur in district Kangra and bus stands would be constructed at Baijnath and Jasoor of Kangra district on PPP mode.

The Minister also decided that the workshops at Dharamshala of Kangra district and Dhalli of Shimla district would be modernized under smart city project besides modernization of bus stand Bilaspur.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.