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The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) will now run the electric buses planned for the city under the Smart City project. In all, 15 e-buses purchased by the HRTC using the Smart City funds are yet to be flagged off by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.

The CM was to flag off these buses on April 19, but could not come to Dharamsala due to bad weather conditions.

According to HRTC Regional Manager in Dharamsala Rajan Jamwal, the e-buses will be run on the existing routes of the corporation. The buses can run up to a maximum distance of 150 km after charging. So, we would take a call on the routes of buses within the specified distance from Dharamsala, he said.

The fact that the HRTC will run the intercity buses in Kangra district has come under criticism from Dharamsala residents. They are alleging that the project of running e-buses was conceived to improve the public transport within the city. By diverting the funds to the HRTC, the government had violated the rules and regulations of the Smart City project, they alleged.

Pawan Sharma, a local, said locals should hold the politicians responsible for diverting the funds for city to other government departments. He said a citizen forum would be formed to expose those who had failed the city.

Amount diverted to govt depts illegally

The Smart City funds have been diverted to different govt depts in an unauthorised manner and without the Centre’s nod. The govt has denied one-time opportunity to locals to have better facilities.

JM Pathania, dharamsala mc ex-commissioner-cum-smart city project md

Talking to The Tribune, JM Pathania, former Commissioner, Dharamsala Municipal Corporation, and MD, Smart City project, said a highly advanced and state-of-the-art transport solution was proposed under the Smart City project. “However, that project has been discarded as the government handed over the Smart City funds to the HRTC. Why the funds meant for the city be spent on HRTC? The political leadership at the state and city level failed the locals,” he added.

Pathania further said under the Smart City project, 35 e-buses were proposed for Dharamsala. “The Centre was to provide funds for these buses under the convergence scheme. The buses were to be deployed in such a fashion that they touched every locality in the city between 15 to 45 minutes. Two state-of-the-art depots, including charging stations, were to be strategically located to make operations of the city bus service highly efficient. A budget of Rs 2.3 crore was kept for it. The smart bus stops were to have WiFi facility, passenger information system, e-toilets and e-kiosks. A budget of Rs 25 crore was also allocated for it,” he added.

Pathania alleged that the Smart City funds had been diverted to different government departments in an unauthorised manner and without any sanction from the Centre. The government had denied one-time opportunity to the citizens of Dharamsala to have better facilities, he added.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Lalit Mohan

Quelle/Source: The Tribune, 26.04.2023

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