Mumbai: RTO Tardeo had received two warnings about the premise being a fire hazard
Source says seniors had been warned of premises being susceptible to fire hazard after 2015 and 2016 blazes, but the authorities just sat on it
The Regional Transport Office (RTO) in Tardeo was twice bitten by fires, but has not learnt to be shy of them. According to a source, some officers had cautioned senior authorities about how Sunday's fire was a disaster waiting to happen, because of two fires the centre had seen in 2015 and 2016.
Sunday's fire gutted the century-old learner's licence barrack and a part of the office, and damaged data and computer systems. On Monday, officials and sources from the RTO told mid-day about the earlier fires that had similarly gutted two other portions of the office. A source even said that some RTO officers had cautioned the seniors about the high probability of occurrence of such an incident.
Assistant Regional Transport Officer, Tardeo, Shailesh Kamat, said, "A fire had gutted the record room in 2015, destroying some manually filled forms. Thankfully, our data and records are stored online and nothing was lost in this fire."
Speaking about the 2016 fire and how the latest one was a disaster waiting to happen, another official said, "The second fire broke out at a small place in 2016, but it was contained quickly. Sunday's incident was a disaster waiting to happen. The premises are packed, with slums surrounding it. In the past, computers have also been stolen. We'd raised an alarm to our seniors over the congestion and security," the official added. But there was no response from the seniors.
Delays on Monday
Meanwhile, it was business as usual at the centre on Monday, as RTO went ahead with the learner's test scheduled for 280 applicants, of which 232 appeared on Monday. A lecture hall in the premises was converted into a temporary examination centre. However, there were delays due to the lack of computers. Instead of 25 computers, only 12 could be installed.
"Since our machines were consumed by the flames, Andheri and Wadala RTOs sent over five computers each. We pooled in two of our computers too," said chief Regional Transport Officer, S Padamkar, adding, "PWD is trying to fix up the office, and we have written to them about the learner's licence barrack too." An officer posted at the centre said, "The server went down early morning, adding to the woes." Kamate said, "The situation is likely to be this way for a few more days. The work that would finish around 3 pm, may now take an hour or two more."
No. of people who took the learner's test on Monday
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