For auto permits at Pune RTO, it was lottery inside, auction outside

Feb 27, 2014, 10:41 IST | Dheeraj Bengrut

While state’s online lottery for auto rickshaw permits was being held inside Pune transport office yesterday, touts were holding auctions outside and selling permits

The state’s online lottery for 59,309 auto rickshaw permits took place yesterday at all the RTOs in the state. In Pune, though, transparency in the computersied process went for a toss, with agents cutting illegal deals outside the regional transport office (RTO) to sell permits — which were supposed to be handed out transparently, with a software picking out applicants’ names.

Fingers crossed: Auto rickshaw drivers and other applicants watch live streaming of the permits lottery at the Pune RTO yesterday. Pic/Mohan Patil

Deals were being struck openly between existent permit holders and agents with political backing for as high as Rs 1,00,000 for a five-year permit, sources said. In fact, mid-day learnt that there has been a veritable auction going on for the past week.

An agent in business told mid-day on the condition of anonymity, “Earlier the rate of selling or renting your auto rickshaw permit for five years was Rs 80,000. It has now gone up to Rs 1 lakh. The bidding is going on all over the RTO premises for the past one week.”

He added, “Agents, old permit-holders and applicants who already have permits have applied for a new one.”

Talking about political muscle, he said, “Most of the applicants are relatives of political leaders in the city and have applied under different names to get a maximum number of permits through the lottery system.

Due to this the process, in which the selection of names is computerised, it is impossible to cheat to get the permits,” he added.

Heavy rush
On Wednesday, there was a heavy rush of auto rickshaw drivers and others at the Pune RTO to see the live streaming of the lottery selection. The process started at noon at the Mumbai head office. Accepting that the illegal auction of permits is a reality, deputy regional transport officer Anil Valiv said, “This illegal selling of permits by permit holders is detrimental to the system, as the person who is in real need of the permit, that is, a genuine applicant, does not get it. This malpractice has escalated and the selling and renting of permits has becomes a business. We are going to try and stop this. I would take up the issue with higher officials and find a solution.”

>> Agents with political backing and permit holders cutting deals to rent permits
>> Permits sold for as high as Rs 1 lakh

Vital stats

For Pune region, 887 auto rickshaw permits were issued. And more than 8,000 people had applied for them. Currently, there are around 45,000 auto permits under the Pune RTO. In 1997, such permits were openly issued to auto rickshaw drivers.

Bring log system back, says auto union chief
Bring log system back: auto union leader Datta Ghule, president of Manali Auto Rickshaw Union, said, “Under the current system, there is no way to trace as who is running autos and in whose name the permit has been issued. After the permits are issued for five years, the driver or owner has to go to the RTO to validate it every year. Auto permits are renewed every five years. Between these year gaps RTO cannot keep a track of auto permit holder, driver and any other person who is making business out of that auto. Around ten years back there was a log book system at the RTO, in this permit holder name, driver and all the details about the auto were kept. If this system is brought back in RTO, then some control can be kept over illegal selling and renting of auto permits.”

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