The state transport department has come down heavily on the thriving business of driving schools. In a drive to check whetherrules and norms were being followed, officials cancelled the licences of 404 schools, 83 of which are from Mumbai.
In the month-long initiative, inspectors from the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) checked for violation of regulations laid down for driving schools, as per the central Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
V N More, state transport commissioner, said, “We found that these schools didn’t have sufficient space to operate, and didn’t have classrooms. They lacked the required books and material, and did not maintain enrolment or attendance records of their pupils.”
Several places didn’t even have a principal or driving instructors. All schools are supposed to have a model engine to show students how an engine of a car works. Most schools didn’t have this as well. The authorities also found that the institutes were mainly acting as agents to procure driving licences, instead of teaching their students how to drive.
RTO inspectors had to send their reports immediately by fax or email, in order to avoid any manipulation. The inspection report contained signatures of the concerned inspectors, the principal of the school, and an eyewitness, informed More. Yet another drive is being carried out and its report is being drafted, he added.
Though periodic checks are mandatory as per the rules, it was rarely done because of staff shortage at the state transport department. The state will continue to keep a check on the remaining 1,600 schools, and a list of graded schools will be made public through various media, so that people know which schools are authorised to operate.
Driving schools at ITI
Meanwhile, the state government is mulling over a proposal to open driving schools at the 450 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), the Minister of State for Transport Sachin Ahir told this newspaper. The move is to compensate for the closure of driving schools across the state. As of today, there are only 25 ITIs that have driving schools, he added. The department has also decided to conduct a three-day refresher course for people who drive vehicles meant for transportation of hazardous chemicals, said the minister.
Total no of driving schools in the state