It was a busy Saturday for the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) across Maharashtra including Mumbai. The authorities were busy removing the illegal stalls — desks and chairs — placed on the footpath right outside the RTO premises and dumping it in trucks, on orders of the transport commissioner, Mahesh Zagade. The initiative was taken after the State Transport Commissioner’s office recently sent out a letter to all RTOs across Maharashtra ordering them to get rid of illegal agents by January 17.
The Andheri RTO (above) was cleared of illegal desks yesterday
The Transport Commissioner, Mahesh Zagade, stated in the letter that RTOs are hand in glove with illegal agents and touts. ‘It is not difficult (to remove illegal agents). They can’t sustain without the connivance of the local staff. It can be achieved if the connivance is terminated,’ stated the letter. Zagade is expected to conduct surprise checks at the RTOs from January 19 and has warned of disciplinary action if instances of undemocratic practices are detected. For instance, at the Andheri RTO — which was heavily infested with illegal agents and touts — was cleared on Saturday morning by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) staff.
Andheri RTO officials are keeping an eye on those entering its premises by taking down their details. “We also note the nature of their work at the premises,” said an RTO official, on condition of anonymity. Sources however pointed out that they don’t have sufficient manpower to keep a check on everyone. The Tardeo RTO is facing manpower crunch and there are desks and tables found outside. A senior transport official said, “At present, the RTOs are functioning with the current manpower though we are trying to fill in posts.” The Wadala RTO is on the third floor above commercial offices of transporters and the authorities are scouting for land for new office and are also coordinating with the concerned state authorities.