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Haryana buses are best

I differ with your observation that “commuting between small towns in Haryana is a nightmare for people” (editorial, “Strike unwarranted: Haryana cannot keep out private buses”, November 16). Many private buses are already operating in small towns of Haryana, but they compare poorly with the services rendered by the Haryana Roadways buses. Most of them remain overcrowded and are notorious for ducking scheduled time of arrivals and departures.

It goes to the credit of the hardworking staff of the Haryana Roadways, including the mechanics, drivers, conductors and workshop managers, that today even the state-owned Punjab roadways buses stand nowhere as against the average speed, size and quality of seats and strict adherence to schedules of Haryana Roadways buses. This has been possible because the Haryana Government has given the best possible training to its drivers, set up modern workshops equipped with sophisticated tools and built nearly 100 beautiful bus stands throughout the state. The Transport Department of Haryana must be applauded for providing comfortable transport services to the people of the state with its fleet of 3,850 buses. Unlike in the sixties and seventies, breakdowns on roads are rare.

It is a positive development that the state government has promised to withhold the grant of 3,519 permits to private players for three months in its negotiations with the striking employees. Instead of opening local routes to private buses, the government should increase the fleet of HRT buses to 4,500 as it had promised last year. IOnly the HRT buses are successfully plying from one village to another, even up to remote "dhanis"(small hamlets). But most of the HRT buses spared for local routes happen to be old or too much used.

This problem can be solved by bringing in new buses. In the two days' strike of November 13 and 14, the estimated loss to the state Transport Department is said to be ~6 crore. It means that the HRT employees earn nearly ~200 crore in one month for the state. In Haryana Roadways buses, the students, freedom fighters, handicapped people, senior citizens and distinguished sports persons are allowed to travel free of cost or they are given substantial concessions unlike the private buses.


Privatisation no solution

The editorial on the strike of Haryana Roadways employees underlines the need of competition to improve efficiency in services, especially in rural and remote areas. No doubt, it is needed. But at the same time, we have seen the unsatisfactory results of privatisation in transport services as well as in other sectors, like education. In Delhi, the 'blueline ' private buses had become 'killer buses' in public opinion and ultimately, the policy had to be reversed towards the state public transport system. Punjab is also far behind in the quality of public transport services due to its privately dominated system. Moreover, the 'vested interests' in the move of privatisation, especially in the profit-making sectors, cannot be ignored.

The Haryana Roadways Buses are considered the best in the region, with the commuters prefering to travel by these buses, if given a choice. So, instead of weakening the profit -making sector by handing it over to private players on a platter, it is better to rectify the shortcomings and enhance its level of efficiency.

Dr Rameshwar Das, via email

Centre neglecting HP

Himachal Pradesh seems to be a victim of stark neglect by the Centre. Whatever be hue of the political party ruling in New Delhi, the hapless state has seldom got a fair deal in all these years.

Even the transparently genuine claims of the state have been allowed to hang fire and remain virtually unnoticed. These include royalty arrears vis-ŕ-vis hydro-electric projects located in the state, 7.19 per cent share in Chandigarh as per the provisions of the States Re-organisation Act and the package of financial assistance as a special category hill state.

Why is this so? Perhaps, it is because the traditionally peace-loving people of Himachal Pradesh have simply failed to plead the state's case in the language the powers-that-be seem to understand. How sad!

TARA CHAND, Ambota(Una)

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]



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