Poll duty takes a toll on RTO staff
With several of their staffers helping out with poll preparations, the city's regional transport offices in Tardeo, Andheri and Wadala are struggling to provide their day-to-day services; long delays greet citizens at the offices
The approaching Lok Sabha elections have put RTO officials in a spot. With a substantial number of their staff being sent on election duty, they are left with insufficient manpower to cater to the needs of those who need their services.
People visiting the RTO for renewal or application of driving licences, registration of new vehicles or for vehicle fitness certificates have to bear with terrible delays due a grinding staff shortage.
The Tardeo RTO, which is responsible for overseeing the registration of vehicles and issuing driving licences, has sent 40 of its staff members to the election department for election duty. While the elections are still months away, the commission is hard at work, collecting information on electoral rolls, calculating the number of voters, and sundry tasks for the polls.
“We are already facing a staff crunch. The election duties are making the work all the more difficult,” said a Tardeo RTO official.
At present, the Tardeo RTO has 179 working staff members, although the sanctioned working staff there is 259, of which 40 employees are on election duty. This staff reduction has slowed down the work at the RTO to an extent.
Officials claim that they are facing difficulties in issuing driving licences and managing the hundreds of applicants who come for their learners’ licences every day. Nearly 350 people from the city line up everyday for their licences at the Tardeo RTO.
Things aren’t any better at the Andheri RTO, which caters to the western suburbs between Bandra and Dahisar, Around 450 people come here every day to apply for fresh licences. This RTO is already falling short of 80 staff members, with at least 35 staff members away on election duty. To add to this deficit, at least two or three members retire every month, after which their postitions are not filled up. On many occasions, the counter windows are kept shut or left unattended, as there is no one to man them.
“It has become very difficult for drivers who come to the RTO to complete their work,” said Sharad Rao, auto rickshaw union leader.
Learning from past experiences, the Wadala RTO that caters to the eastern suburbs has taken a stern decision of not sending a bulk of their employees on election duty. “The last couple of times, we faced severe problems in handling the people coming for their work at our RTO. So we have sent only 5-7 staff members till now,” said an official from Wadala RTO. The Wadala RTO, at present, has around 110 employees, with 45 posts lying vacant.
No of RTO officials from Tardeo and Andheri on election duty
Number of people who visit the RTO offices at Andheri and Tardeo every day