Tribune News Service
Shimla, August 1
The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) has written to police about illegal operations by some private bus operators and has sought action against the offenders.
In a letter addressed to SP, Shimla, an HRTC official has listed the names of private operators who are operating as ‘stage carriage’ even though they are registered as ‘contract carriage’. The official has alleged that these buses, registered in Haryana and UP, are plying as ‘stage carriage’ on interstate routes like Shimla-Delhi, Manali-Delhi and Dharamsala-Delhi without completing the required formalities.
“Due to these illegal operations, the HRTC is suffering huge financial losses, which is ultimately affecting the revenue of the state government,” the official wrote.
As per the Motor Vehicle Act, the stage carriage permit vehicle can pick passengers from different points on its route before reaching its final destination. Whereas vehicles plying with a contract carriage permit need to pick all its passengers at the starting point of the journey — it can’t pick passengers on the way.
Khemender Gupta, secretary of the joint coordination committee of the HRTC employees, says private operators have been flouting norms for many years but hardly any action is taken against them. “There are committees to check illegal operations but hardly any action is taken against the offenders. This is one of the major reasons why HRTC is bleeding,” said Gupta.
Elaborating further, Gupta said operators have to pay much less tax for contract carriage permit than stage carriage permit. “Many vehicles of private operators have contract carriage permit but they operate as stage carriage. By doing so, they are evading a lot of tax, thus causing huge losses to the government,” said Gupta.
“Also, these illegal operations affect the occupancy in HRTC buses. A strict action against these operators is the need of the hour. Both the government and HRTC will benefit if all these illegal operations are checked,” he said.
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