State govt fails to install simulators at RTOs

A year after former CM Prithviraj Chavan announced that simulators should be installed at Regional Transport Offices across the state, only three such devices have been installed

The Maharashtra government hasn’t installed driving simulators at Regional Transport Offices (RTO) across the state although plans for the same were announced last year by the then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, at the annual Road Safety Fortnight (RSF). Chavan, however, hadn’t announced the exact number of simulators that should be installed.

Simulators help train people to drive on a computer-programmed machine without facing the risk of mishaps on roads. File photo

Ironically, the RSF is observed every year by the Central and state governments to create awareness among citizens about traffic rules and reduce road accidents.

Simulators play a crucial role as they train people to drive on a computer-programmed machine without facing the risk of mishaps on roads. At present, drivers have to take the physical test by driving on test tracks at RTOs that aren’t in a good condition either.

An RTO official said, on condition of anonymity, “There hasn’t been much progress in installing these driving simulators.” After the CM’s announcement, simulators were set up at the Andheri and Tardeo RTOs. While the one at Andheri isn’t functional, the other at Tardeo RTO has become redundant.

According to sources, the state government hasn’t installed new simulators at any of the RTOs, as it’s an expensive affair. A car simulator costs around Rs 6-7 lakh.

Officials, however, said that things would be different if private companies sponsor the scheme under their social responsibility programme. At present, there is a bus-driving simulator at the Western India Automobile Associations (WIAA) driving centre at Churchgate, which was set up early last year.

Meanwhile, CM Devendra Fadnavis, along with other authorities, will officially inaugurate the RSF on January 13. While every year, it’s held on January 2, this time, it has been postponed as authorities felt it will garner a better response.

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