The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) yesterday staged an agitation against the Regional Transport Office (RTO) alleging that its officials were accepting bribes from heavy vehicle owners to allow them ply overloaded trucks in the city.
Representatives of the party even discussed the issue with senior officials of the RTO and demanded strict action against the corrupt inspectors.
According to MNS, a heavy vehicle can carry weight up to 10 tonnes. However, the party alleges that several trucks ply with loads that are four times the permissible limit.
“RTO inspectors collect Rs 15,000 per truck from truck owners every month to allow them to flout the rule. They in fact, have set up a system called ‘membership’. After paying the amount, they become members and openly ply overloaded trucks,” said Ganesh Nayakwade, city president of Maharashtra Vahatuk Sena. He added that more than one lakh such trucks ply in the city and officials of the RTO are earning crores of rupees from them.
Rubbishing the allegations, Arun Yeola, RTO of Pune, said that they do take strict action against overloaded vehicles. “We have collected a record-breaking fine of over Rs 20 crore in 2012-13. Every month we take action against 4,000 heavy vehicles.”
Yeola, however, cited manpower crunch as the prime reason why the RTO has failed to take action against every single offender.
“We have only six inspectors to fine offenders, which is not sufficient,” he said. Yeola added that they have sent 55 proposals to the state government regarding the up-gradation of RTO, but none of them got approved till date.
Meanwhile, Rita Gupta, vice-president of party’s women’s wing, said that the MNS is ready to provide volunteers who can help RTO on the field. “We have formed a committee to tackle several transport issues and are even ready to assist officials of the RTO. However, it is they who are not taking any initiative,” she said.
Gupta also claimed that the party, since the past two years, has been asking the RTO administration to hold monthly meeting so that such things could be addressed. “Now, we have decided to meet the Chief Minister and the Transport Commissioner on the issue,” said Gupta.