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Himachal

Posted at: Oct 7, 2019, 7:23 AM; last updated: Oct 7, 2019, 7:23 AM (IST)

Buses plying illegally from Kangra ‘eating into’ revenue of HRTC

No check despite report being filed daily | 10-12 moving from Dharamsala alone
Buses plying illegally from Kangra ‘eating into’ revenue of HRTC
The practice is denting the HRTC revenues. File photo

Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, October 6

Illegal contract carriage buses plying from Dharamsala and other tourist stations of Kangra district are reportedly eating into the revenue of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC).

Sources here said around 10-12 illegal buses were plying from Dharamsala alone, denting the HRTC revenues.

These buses have the permit of contract carriage, which means that they can operate only if booked by a group for tourism purposes. However, these buses are plying on a daily basis on the same time as that of state carriage buses. Sources said the illegal operations of the buses were so blatant that some points in Dharamsala city had turned into illegal bus stands from where these buses pick up passengers.

Pankaj Chada, regional manager of the HRTC, Dharamsala, said: “We submit a report to the Regional Transport Officer (RTO) daily regarding the number of illegal contract carriage buses plying in the district and it is for them to act against the guilty.”

HRTC officials, on the condition of anonymity, said illegal contract carriages were causing losses worth crores of rupees to the state government as well as the HRTC. “The contract carriages do not pay any road tax that the state carriage buses of HRTC have to pay to the state government. Besides, the contract carriage buses are bound to pay a daily tax of Rs5,200 for plying in the state, but majority of these are not paying it,” said an official.

Another official said: “If these contract carriage buses pay all the taxes, it will become impossible for them to continue service. Besides Himachal, the Punjab Government levies a tax of Rs5,000 a day and Haryana Rs2,200 a day on these buses. They are bound to pay around Rs3.6 lakh per month tax for operating on a daily basis. However, most of them pay taxes for just 4-5 days in a month, leading to losses worth crores of rupees to Himachal and adjoining states.”

Dharamsala RTO Vishal Sharma said: “I asked the HRTC officials to submit a list of contract carriage buses plying illegally in the district. I have written to the registration authorities of these buses to cancel their registration. Since these buses are plying as state carriages but registered as contract carriages, their operations are illegal and their registration is liable to be cancelled.”

On tax theft, Sharma said: “Whenever we intercept a bus that has not paid tax, five-time penalty is slapped on the operator.”

However, sources said the fact that whether a contract carriage bus has paid tax or not can be checked by anyone at vahan. parivahan.gov.in application of the government. The app states that most of the contract carriage buses plying on daily from Dharamsala are not paying state taxes.

The RTO said: “Now, I have asked the department to install CCTV cameras at critical places so that I am able to track plying of illegal contract carriages.”

Sources said considering the huge losses, the HRTC was now thinking of curbing operations on many routes.

Losses running into crores

  • Contract carriage buses have the permit of contract carriage, which means they can operate only if booked by a group for tourism purposes. However, these buses are plying on a daily basis on the same time as that of state carriage buses
  • HRTC officials said illegal contract carriages were causing losses worth crores of rupees to the state government as well as the HRTC
  •  
  • “The contract carriages do not pay any road tax that the state carriage buses of HRTC have to pay to the state government. Besides, the contract carriage buses are bound to pay a daily tax of Rs 5,200 for plying in the state, but majority of these are not paying it,” said an official

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