MANGALURU: A recent government order has left numerous disabled persons in a helpless state. Unlike the past, they now have to go all the way to Bengaluru or Mysuru to get their modified vehicles certified. Until last year, it was done in ‘modification approved garages’ across the state.
A retired lecturer of Canara PU College, Prof Gopinath, who is also a wheelchair user, said: “Until last year, the ‘invalid carriage’ alteration could be done at the local modifier. However, this time, any vehicle that needs to be registered as an invalid carriage needs to go to Bengaluru, where a particular private party examines and gives a certificate. I am trying to change my car, but now, I need to drive all the way to Bengaluru to get that done.”
Since 1996, this is Prof Gopinath’s fourth ‘invalid carriage’, a car that is modified and made suitable for the use of persons with disabilities. But now, there is a problem in registering the new car that he contemplates on buying. The roadblock is the 352-km long road journey to the state capital to get his vehicle certified at a ‘modification approved garage’.
This garage has been relocated to just two places in the state - Bengaluru and Mysuru, confirms DCT and senior regional Transport Officer (in charge), G S Hegde. But the reliability is in question, he says, “if modifications are done locally, we can cross-check.”
Interestingly, Prof Muralidhar Naik, retired professor of Hindi, University College, pointed out to another problem in the new procedure that requires the intervention by the dealer in Bengaluru who certifies the road-worthiness of the carriage. “Earlier, you could buy the vehicle, make necessary alterations locally, and then take it to the RTO for registration, and they registered it and exempted the carriage from road tax.
Now, if a disabled wants to run a new car, he has to get a certificate from Bengaluru. Alterations by local dealers are not accepted.”He goes on to add that the dealer in Bengaluru, Shivaprasad, who is authorised to certify these carriages, charges Rs 25,000 for alterations, whereas the local dealer in Kavoor makes the same modifications for Rs 5,000. “Now, the Bengaluru dealer says we can get it altered anywhere locally and then get his report by paying Rs 25,000. This is like Licence Raj. Why stop other dealers? There is a significant amount paid to the transport ministry,” he said.
The procedure of taking the vehicle to Bengaluru for registration also applies to two-wheelers, confirmed senior RTO G S Hegde. “How can they take a modified vehicle to Bengaluru?” the official questioned.
Mangaluru has around 10 cases of modification and registration on an average per year. About 4-5 are cars, and rest are gearless motorcycles and there are hardly any women applicants for modifications, said senior regional Transport Officer (in charge), G S Hegde.
“A memorandum submitted by the disabled organisation is sent to the head office to the commissioner of transport.We have also requested local dealers for ‘approval of modification’ application, for modifying disabled vehicles,” said senior regional Transport Officer G S Hegde.