Staff shortage puts brakes on road safety norm enforcement

37 per cent of the posts lying vacant in Transport Department, say officials
Staff shortage puts brakes on road safety norm enforcement

VISAKHAPATNAM: Inadequate staff in the Transport Department is coming in the way of stringent enforcement of the safety norms, letting the violators to have a free run. The Road Transport Authority (RTA) officials say that most of the district RTAs need manpower almost three times of their existing strength as the state RTA has an overall 37 per cent vacancies.

At present, the RTA has around 320 motor vehicle inspectors (MVIs) across the state, including field officers (executive staff) and around 1,100 other office staffers and it is said that many RTAs fail to function properly owing to the staff crunch. The fallout is prominent when it comes to traffic rule violations, checking fitness of school buses and patrolling.

Visakhapatnam RTA has around 30 executive staff including MVIs and the office staff is said to be about 55 to 60. A senior officer of the  Visakhapatnam RTA said, “We need at least three times the existing staff strength. Due to inadequate staff, the fitness verification of school buses has been hit. We have to check around 1,100 buses in less than two months. This is the reason why major enforcement are given a goby for the rest of the year.”

Besides the basic fitness verification ahead of the beginning of academic calendar, no major drives are being conducted due to staff shortage. Even the traffic violations are not being monitored properly, say the RTA officials.

Many school buses hit the fast lane without obtaining fitness certificate. The Visakhapatnam district has around 1,600 buses of which around 1,100 ply in the city limits.

According to RTA source, of the 1,100 buses, around 260 are plying, flouting fitness norms. The same situation prevails across the state, resulting in accidents.

Admitting to the problems, state Transport commissioner N Bala Subrahmanyam said that 37 per cent of the posts in the department were lying vacant.”Not even 10 per cent of the needed enforcement is being done. The government would take steps to ensure the adequate strength,” he said.

In other countries, Bala Subrahmanyam  said, roads vulnerable to accidents are patrolled by dedicated enforcement teams regularly.

“At present, our state does not have such teams due to lack of staff strength. We will try to have a dedicated patrolling force in the coming days even on the National Highways, and later on the state highways,” he added.

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The New Indian Express