Shimla: The state transport department of Himachal Pradesh has decided to resume intra-district and inter-district public transport in the state from June 1, even after the state has witnessed a sharp 12-times surge in COVID-19 cases for the last 23 days.
The State Transport Minister Govind Singh Thakur said that the buses are allowed to ply with a maximum of 60 per cent seating capacity to maintain social distancing.
Also, they are required to be sanitised at least two to three times a day.
Speaking to ANI, Thakur said that during the lockdown around Rs 160 crore loss was incurred upon Himachal Pradesh Road and Transport Corporation while Rs 600 crore has been estimated as a loss of wages in different transport sectors.
“Keeping in mind the demands of the public, over 2,200 buses will start operation in different districts of the state. Buses will not be allowed to move in containment zone areas,” he said.
The state Transport Minister said the Transport Department would provide sanitisers, face masks and face shields to the drives and conductors.
The district administration would ensure law and order, he added.
The officials, however, opined that the arrival of a large number of Himachal residents from COVID-infected states for the last three weeks had resulted in the import of infection in the green zones.
The private transporters, who cater to the 40 per cent of public transport service in the state and have about 3,200 buses in the private sector, are of the view that they were already running into huge losses due to the lockdown and the high cost of transportation.
“We would resume the public transport at 60 per cent of the seating capacity only when the state government compensate us,” the president of a private bus operator association, RK Prashar said.