In a bid to curb instances of miscreants creating and issuing fake licences and other documents at Regional Transport Offices (RTO) across the state, computers at these offices will be linked up to thumbprint reader units to restrict misuse.
Before the application is hooked up to computers at various RTOs across the state, it will first be tested at the Andheri RTO, which caters to the western suburbs namely Bandra to Dahisar.
In order to access their computers, staff members will be required to hold their thumb to the reader unit, besides keying in a password, as a double safety measure.
“Apart from the normal password system, the staff will have to register their thumbprint for starting the computer. Andheri RTO is known to be a haven for unscrupulous agents, who are always a threat, which this system could tackle,” said a RTO official on condition of anonymity.
RTO officials claim that their main concern is that the purpose of the system will be defeated in case staff members are hand-in-glove with outsiders or agents, or unknowingly give computer access to unscrupulous individuals. There have been several cases of fake registrations, duplication of driving licenses apart from staff being manhandled at Andheri RTO because of action being initiated against agents in the past.
Each RTO in the city issues over 300 new driving licenses and registers several vehicles each day, and the thumbprint system could work to effectively curb illegal activities. Once the unit is fitted, the computers will auto-lock within seconds if staff members leave their systems unattended to use the washroom or to break for lunch. Apart from having to log in with the thumbprint and password to start-up and access their computers, staff members will have to repeat the thumbprint login every hour. The settings on this system cannot be tampered with by staff.
Sources at this RTO said, “In June last year, there was a case where duplicate driving licenses were generated by unscrupulous elements using our staff’s computers.”
In the event of any wrongdoings, the authorities will have a clear-cut indication of who is responsible. “We will be starting this enhanced security system in other RTOs shortly,” said Transport Commissioner V N More.
Scams at work
>> A major imported bike scam was busted at Andheri RTO in June 2010. Agents working for dealers of imported vehicles, were hand-in-glove with RTO staff and were managing documentation to facilitate bikes being brought into the country from Singapore, then being assembled in Mumbai, before being sold to celebrities.
>> In June 2011, agents were caught for involvement in duplication of driving licenses. This led to the request from officials for an enhanced security system at all RTOs.