Automated test centre still a distant dream for Ernakulam RTO

This is even as Tripunithura sub RTO and Muvattupuzha RTO in the district, with lesser number of inspections, already enjoy the facility.
Fitness test of vehicles being conducted along the Infopark Road at Kakkanad
Fitness test of vehicles being conducted along the Infopark Road at KakkanadPhoto | Express

KOCHI: The Ernakulam regional transport office (RTO), the first in the state to register one million vehicles, lacks an automated vehicle testing centre even as the number of inspections has risen manifold.

This is even as Tripunithura sub RTO and Muvattupuzha RTO in the district, with lesser number of inspections, already enjoy the facility.

“As of now, an average of 100 vehicles are daily subjected to fitness tests, which are conducted along the Infopark road stretch. This is set to increase to 150 by next year,” a senior official said. Even RTO offices in the district with the facility test just 60 to 70 vehicles every day.

MVD officials underlined the need for setting up the centre on an urgent basis. “As per the 2018 rule, transport vehicles should be subjected to tests once every two years during the first eight years and annually thereafter. However, the tests were postponed during the pandemic and all the pending tests were carried out in 2022, the validity of which ends this year. So we expect a spurt in testing next year,” the official pointed out.

Ernakulam is also home to the most number of goods carriers. Inspectors have to examine the fitness of tyres, vipers, lights and fittings in the first stage. In the second stage, the testing of sound levels, speedometer, speed governor, sideslip, breaks, headlamps, beam testing and underbody inspection are carried out.

“The physical examination of these many vehicles is time-consuming. It also affects quality, especially in the second stage,” the official added.

Automated testing centres make use of advanced machines to examine the fitness of vehicles, and all parameters, including the efficiency of vehicles, can be determined in minimal time. The first computerised vehicle testing station and driving test track in the district was established in Muvattupuzha in 2019. The second one in Puttumanoor, within Tripunithura joint RTO limits, was built at a cost of `4 crore last year.  

Identified land yet to be handed over

A government order issued early last year provided for the allocation of 82 cents of land behind the Infopark police station for the automated driving test centre, however, the same is yet to be measured and handed over to the MVD.

“There are many encroachments on that plot, which the revenue department has been asked to measure. The process has been caught up in red tape. Moreover, Thrikkakara municipality wants to build a stadium there,” the official said.

Caught in red tape

A government order issued early last year provided for the allocation of 82 cents of land behind the Infopark police station for the automated driving test centre, however, the same is yet to be measured and handed over to the MVD

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