The Vadgaon Sheri Nagrik Manch (VSNM) has alleged that the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) is not testing transport and goods vehicles properly before giving them the fitness certificates. The members of the organisation claim to have come to this conclusion based on information they received yesterday in reply to an RTI query filed by Ashish Mane, a member, on September 22, 2014.
The Vadgaon Sheri Nagrik Manch has alleged that the Pune Regional Transport Office is not testing transport and goods vehicles properly. Pic/ Shashank Sane
In July 2014, the Bombay High Court had issued orders for state transport offices to check all public transport buses, and ensure that they are fit to ply on the roads. However, due to a staff crunch, the Pune RTO officers are unable to conduct the fitness test in a streamlined way even on other vehicles, due to which there is more scope for errors and an increase in the chance of road mishaps in the city and on highways, says VSNM.
The Pune RTO held annual fitness tests on commercial vehicles, and has, so far, tested 27,981 vehicles. In this period, it was found through the RTI request that the RTO checks around 200 vehicles daily. But, Mane alleged that RTO does not have adequate manpower and time to check even close to 200 vehicles every day.
Explaining his point, Mane said, “I had sought information from the RTO under the RTI Act 2005, about the fitness tests conducted on transport and goods carriers. According to the information, the RTO, from April 1 to September 22, 2014, conducted fitness tests on 27,981 vehicles. Considering all the working days of RTO in this period, it was found that the department checks around 200 vehicles every day.”
“According to RTO rules, the average time that must be taken to check auto rickshaws and tempos is 10 minutes each, for light goods carriers is 15 minutes, for trucks is 19 minutes and for heavy vehicles like buses is 24 minutes. In this time span, the RTO cannot have checked 200 vehicles daily,” added Mane.
He also doubted whether the RTO has enough manpower to check so many vehicles daily. “We had also sought information on vehicles which had failed to pass the fitness tests so far. But the RTO could not provide us with any such information,” said Mane.
When contacted, Regional Transport Officer Jitendra Patil said, “We don’t compromise on anything while checking the vehicles. We have to check the headlights, tail and brake lights, reflectors which should be visible from a distance, etc.”
However, he did say they are waiting for additional staff. “We have also started an automated testing track at Bhosari, where the test is conducted once a week and, on an average, 50 heavy vehicles are brought for the fitness test. As there is less manual intervention in Bhosari, the scope of error is minimal. As far as the staff crunch is concerned, we are waiting for additional staff so that we can conduct the tests smoothly,” he added.