Himachal opens its borders; announces relief measures for pandemic-hit travel & transport sector

The Meeting of State Cabinet held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur reviewed the Covid-19 situation in the State. The Himachal Pradesh government has decided that there will be no more requirements of RT-PCR tests for entering the state. The state has allowed intrastate public transport with 50 percent occupancy and now there’s no requirement of RTPCR tests for entering the State.

The Cabinet gave its nod to the revised scheme for Interest Subvention on Working Capital Loan for Hospitality Industry with a view to ensure that Tourism Unit operators could get easier access to working capital at interest rates lower than the prevailing market rates. The revised scheme provides for interest subversion of 75 percent in the first year and the payment period has also been increased to five years. Some other categories like ropeway and travel agents have also been included in the new scheme.

The state government has provided relief of about Rs 40 crore to the transport sector one of the worst-hit sectors by the pandemic which includes an Interest Subvention Scheme on working capital for stage carriage operators, under which a loan amount of Rs 2 lakh per bus and maximum amount up to Rs 20 lakh would be provided to the bus operators as working capital.  The duration of the loan would be 5 years, in which one year would be of moratorium period, there would be 75 percent interest subvention, which would be paid by the state government.  In the second year, there would be an interest subvention of 50 years which would be borne by the state government.  About Rs. 11 crore relief has been provided by the government on this scheme. 

The Cabinet also provided much-needed relief to Stage Carriage, Taxi, Maxi, Autorickshaw, and Institution Buses by giving the relief of 50 percent on payment of Special Road Tax and Token from 1st August 2020 to 31st March 2021.  The Transport sector would get relief of about Rs. 20 crore due to this decision. 

It also decided to provide 50 percent relief on Special Road Tax and Token Tax during the period of three months from 1st April 2021 to 30th June, 2021.  This decision would provide relief of Rs. 8 crores to stage carriages, taxis, maxi, autorickshaws, contract carriage buses, and institution buses.  This relief provided by the government to the transport sector during the critical period of Corona would benefit all the people of the State and would also prove to be a big help for the transport sector. 

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