RTO paradise for thieves
Despite being one of the highest revenue generators for the state government at Rs 400 crore per year, thefts have been occurring frequently at the Regional Transport Office (RTO) because of the government's failure to sanction permission to appoint security guards.
A two-wheeler and seven batteries from uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units were recently stolen from the Learning Licence Department on the RTO premises, which is spread over one acre. The campus is turning out to be a favourite haunt for thieves and RTO officials also admit that this is true. Last Thursday, a Hero Honda CD Dawn motorcycle (MH12 CU 450) was stolen from the parking area during office hours.
Shankar Navale, who lost his motorcycle, said, “I came to the RTO for personal work and parked my bike in the parking lot at around 6.15 pm. When I returned half-an-hour later, my bike was missing. I asked the parking lot employee, but he didn’t know anything. I have complained at the Tadiwala Road police chowky.”
According to Senior Police Inspector U N Sonawane, this was not the first instance of two-wheeler theft at the RTO. “In the last five months, three two-wheelers were stolen from the RTO. The parking system is not proper and employees are interested in collecting money. RTO officials should arrange a proper security system to avoid such incidents. We are investigating the cases,” Sonawane said.
The parking contract has been outsourced to Haripriya Agency and many people are complaining about the service being provided. “They don’t have any uniform and recently, parking charges have been increased from Rs 3 to Rs 5 without any reason. The owner of the agency is missing from the past eight days” Navale said. Manoj Munot, who is an employee of Haripriya Agency, said, “The owner of the agency has been admitted in the ICU of a hospital for the past eight days. We don’t know about the bike theft.” RTO Arun Yevala said that the agency has been informed about the matter.
“We have warned the agency to take necessary action. The security of parking is completely their responsibility. If in the agency does not take any action the next two days, we will withdraw the contract and appoint a new agency,” Yevala said. Regarding the stolen batteries and the security measures on the premises, a senior RTO officer said, “Thieves stole the batteries after cutting the protective nets. Illegal activities take place on the premises during the night as there is no one to control it. An aged watchman has been appointed for the night shift and he does not even have a torch or a stick.” Yevala said thieves have even targeted vehicles belonging to the RTO.
“We are demanding a proper security system for the RTO and a minimum of four guards are needed. Theft is became a regular activity and parts have been stolen from parked vehicles many times. We have sent written complaints to state government officials regarding security concerns, but have not received any reply. We have also asked the police to conduct regular patrolling during the night,” Yevala said.