CHENNAI:Even though the Transport Department has been collecting service charges since 2007 for vehicle registration, learner’s licences, driving licences, permit and other services, the funds are never used for improving infrastructure in RTO offices.In a recent letter, accessed by the Express, the Transport Department has urged the government to release about Rs 350 crore collected since 2007 towards service charges.
In 2007, the Tamil Nadu government introduced service charges for registering a new vehicle, issuing driving licences, permit and other services. About Rs 60 to Rs 250 is being collected as charge for every service offered by the department. “The service charge was mainly introduced to modernise the department and improve the infrastructure, but the state government is yet to settle the dues till date, which work out to Rs 350 crore,” said the department letter.
The 2007 Government Order said that funds collected towards service charge should be allotted to the Transport Department for creation/development of infrastructure and improving the quality of services, such as construction of buildings and computerisation.The shortage of funds has put computerisation work at a snail’s pace for the past several years. “Introduction of Vahan 4.0 integrated upgraded software system, installation of cameras to monitor the vehicles’ speed and other modernisation works are getting delayed,” highly placed official sources told Express.
The official admitted that the modernisation of RTOs should have been completed by 2015 and works are being delayed for want of funds.After introduction of Vahan 4.0 software in select RTOs, vehicle registration has been disrupted for the past couple of days due to technical glitches. The failure of system is blamed on the lack of sufficient infrastructure.
Of the 86 RTO offices across Tamil Nadu, 49 offices function in own buildings, while six buildings are being constructed. The 31 RTO offices functioning in the rented buildings have no facility for people. While the number of vehicles rose by about 275 per cent in the last 11 years, the condition of RTOs continues to remain poor. The applicants have to depend on touts and brokers for all basic information for getting licences, rued the motorists.
R Ganesh of Thiruvanmiyur said that at the South Chennai RTO office, there is no public display system for applicants.“For any clarification, we have to depend on the touts moving around the premises. The government should erect the LED screens that act as a guide to procedures and documents,” Ganesh added.
According to official records, as on March 31, 2006, the total number of vehicles including cars, two-wheelers, trucks, and vans registered in Tamil Nadu was 82,21,730. The number rose to 2,26,10, 704 on March 31, 2017