Hike in bus fares inevitable, says Dhumal

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Dharamshala, Feb 21 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister P K Dhumal today blamed the UPA Government for increasing the cost of diesel by Re one per litre recently which had resulted in hike in passenger fares in HRTC buses, as the cost of diesel and spare parts has gone up manifold.

Talking to mediapersons at Gaggal airport this afternoon after his arrival here from Delhi, he said increase in bus fares was inevitable with cost of diesel, spare parts and other input cost rising over the past few years.

This coupled with Rs 22,000 crore liability inherited from the previous Congress Government had left the new state government with no other option but to resort to an increase in HRTC buses by about 25 per cent, he said.

Replying to a question, Mr Dhumal said Himachal Government was considering a proposal to appoint private doctors in the Dr R P Government Medical College at Tanda, besides appointing them as visiting faculty to overcome lack of adequate doctors.

Regarding shortage of paramedical staff in the various hospitals of the state, he said besides filling the vacant posts of nurses in different medical colleges, the government would also set up nursing institutes in various parts of the state.

Admitting that the government hospitals were facing acute shortage of doctors and para-medical staff, he said effective steps would be initiated to meet shortfall.

The Chief Minister said a sum of Rs 30 crore would be spent on three airports of Kangra, Kullu and Shimla and added that the expansion of Kangra airport was in progress.

Replying to another question on private airlines on reducing the number of flights to the state, he said he had already written to the Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and had also urged to ensure that the passengers were not made to pay more than the fare fixed by the ministry.

He said Air India had also reduced its flights to Kullu from four days in a week to two days and he had taken up matter with the Centre to ensure four flights in a week.

Mr Dhumal was accompanied by IPH Minister Ravinder Ravi, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Sarween Choudhary, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ramesh Dhawala, Forest Minister J P Nadda and MLA Parveen Sharma.

UNI XC AS VKJ AE RK2000

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