THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With only five more working days remaining before new fees and penalty for re-registration of old vehicles come into force, owners of vehicles older than 15 years are in a fix over completing the procedures in time. The ministry of road transport and highways issued the notification imposing the new fee structure from April 1, 2022.
The rates have been hiked steeply — over three to eight times — for different categories of vehicles, along with penalty for any delay. As the rules say owners can apply for re-registration 60 days before the registration expires, regional transport offices have received a large number of applications.
Though the process has been made more transparent with a provision to submit applications online, and in line with the standard operating procedures, a lack of clarity on the conditions to clear vehicle inspection has raised the applicants’ concerns. The rule says that a vehicle should be presented in good condition and the body paint proper without any rust.
However, the owners complain that it gives the motor vehicle inspectors discretionary powers, with touts taking advantage of the situation by claiming to get the process completed for a hefty fee. “An officer told me to get the patches painted to clear the inspection,” said Krishna Kumar (name changed) from Mavelikara who had come to the regional transport office (RTO) for the re-registation of his motorcycle.
“At the same time, a vehicle agent approached me and offered to get the re-registration done without any painting done, but for a fee of Rs 6,000.” He said he was unaware of the requirement of repainting and it was tough to get it done on short notice. The agent also advised him to get a new high-security number plate, even though there was no such requirement.
Though the motor vehicles department (MVD) has adopted various methods to reduce the influence of commission agents in RTOs, the applicants visiting the offices are swarmed by agents to get the work done faster. The top officials of MVD have cautioned the people against fleecing by agents.
“There is going to be a heavy rush at RTOs till March 31. And the agents are misusing the situation. The vehicle users should pay the fee online, take the vehicle to the inspection ground directly on a date of their choice. They should carry the vehicle documents and the receipt generated for the fee paid. There is no need to visit the transport office, which is usually surrounded by agents,” said an officer with MVD.
He said the department does not insist on re-painting. “If there is a colour change, the owner needs to pay the alteration fee and get the sanction. If it is the same paint, there is no rule that it should be repainted. But the vehicle should be in good condition, without any rust or patches. The public has every right to ask if there is an issue with the paint. If the inspecting officer points out issues to be rectified, the vehicle owner can present the vehicle after addressing them,” the officer added.
The vehicle inspection is done on all days when driving tests are conducted. It is usually conducted at the same location. Most of the major RTOs conduct driving tests on all working days while some RTOs skip the tests on Wednesdays or Saturdays. After inspection, the registration certificate (RC book) will be sent through post. The money for the post is covered in the fee paid.