Relaxing the existing Covid-19 restrictions, the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet, on Friday, decided to do away with the requirement of RT-PCR tests for entering the state. A decision was also taken to increase the shop opening timings from 9 am to 5 pm from June 14. Shops have, however, been asked to remain closed on weekends.
The government has decided to continue with ‘corona curfew between 5 pm to 5 am. The transport services will operate with 50 per cent capacity within the state. No inter-state bus services have yet been allowed.
The decisions were taken at a Cabinet meeting held in Shimla to review Covid position in the state.
State’s Chief Secretary Anil Khachi said those coming to the state will be required to apply for e-pass at the government portal. This will help in maintaining a record of the people, including tourists and those coming for official works.
“The Chief Minister has favoured only step-by-step unlocking of the state view of the larger fears of the people about high infection rate, and unusually high fatalities during the past two months during the second wave,” he added.
The offices would function with 50 per cent of staff. All the medical colleges, Ayurveda colleges, and dental colleges would reopen from June 23. The pharmacy and nursing schools will reopen from June 28. Intrastate public transport would be allowed with 50 per cent occupancy.
The Cabinet provided a relief package of Rs 40 crore to the transport sector, one of the worst-hit sectors by the pandemic. The relief includes an Interest Subvention Scheme on working capital for stage carriage operators, under which a loan amount of Rs 2 lakh per bus and a maximum amount up to Rs 20 lakh would be provided to the bus operators as working capital.
“The duration of the loan will be 5 years, in which one year will be of the moratorium period. There will be a 75 per cent interest subvention to be paid by the state government. In the second year, there will be an interest subvention of 50 years which will also be borne by the state government,' said an official spokesman after the cabinet meeting.
The cabinet provided relief packages to other categories of transport including carriage vehicles, Taxi, Maxi, Autorickshaw, and Institution Buses by granting them 50 per cent on payment of Special Road Tax and Token from August 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021. This sector will get relief of about Rs 20 crore due to this decision.
The government will also provide 50 percent relief on Special Road Tax and Token Tax during the period of three months from April 1, 2021, to June 31, 2021.