CHENNAI: Dispensing with current methods of evaluating vehicle fitness, based on manual inspection, the transport department plans to set up an automated centre in the State, likely in Chennai, with Central government’s assistance. In order to ensure rigorous inspection of motor vehicles, the Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways had mooted an Inspection and Certification Centre in all States. While a few States, including Kerala and Maharashtra, already have such a facility, a centre has been planned for Tamil Nadu.
When contacted, a transport department official said, “The proposed facility will help meet quality requirements and efficiently assess vital parameters of the vehicles.” It has been learned that the identified land in Sholinganallur, near the existing RTO, is mired in a legal dispute which is delaying the project. “A private party has taken this matter to a legal forum. Hence, while both the Central and State governments are keen, the proposed centre is currently held up,” a source said.
As per Central Motor Vehicles Act 1988 and Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, transport vehicles — used for commercial purposes — must go through an annual vehicle fitness test at the RTO where they are registered. On the other hand, vehicles used for personal use must get their certificates after 15 years of registration. Poor fitness of vehicles has often been cited for two significant consequences, namely accidents and pollution.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), defect in mechanical condition of vehicles led to 4,551 road accident deaths in the country in 2015.
The Central Motor Vehicles rule has about 15 parameters to be checked in vehicles. But road safety experts feel fitness testing is not held as per procedure, and that inspectors have the tendency to be selective in evaluating vehicles.
Speaking to Express, Kamal Soi, member of National Road Safety Council, said, “At present, mostly visual inspection is carried out by inspectors. More often than not, it’s an eyewash affair, which cannot really verify condition of vehicles.”
He welcomed the automation of vehicle fitness procedure. “It’ll bring about transparency, and also help create a benchmark in terms of ensuring fit vehicles.”
Significantly, the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016 has made it mandatory for automated fitness testing of transport vehicles from October 1, 2018.
Costs to be shared
According to officials, land for the project will have to be made available by the State government, who will also bear cost of the land. Cost towards construction and other facilities will be borne by the Central government. The total cost for setting up one such centre is around D14 crore.