Kerala: Massive licence application backlog prompts nod for more tests at RTOs

Malappuram tops the list of 40 RTOs with pending applications.
Image used for representation.
Image used for representation.

KOCHI: As part of efforts to clear the massive backlog of driving licence applications, the transport department has further relaxed regulations introduced in May, allowing more tests to be conducted daily at road transport offices (RTOs) with a pendency rate of over 3,000 applications.

The new circular, issued on June 26, states that such centres can each take on an extra batch of 40 such applicants daily, in addition to the existing quota. “The measure will be in force till a sizable backlog is cleared. As such, there are 40 RTOs in the state where pendency exceeds 3,000, with Malappuram topping the list with 9,763 applications,” a senior motor vehicles department (MVD) official said.

Malappuram is followed by Tirur SRTO (8,121), Kollam (6,122), Nilambur SRTO (5,965), Thalassery SRTO (5,872), Thirurangadi SRTO (5,638), Kondotty SRTO (5,617), Thrissur SRTO (5,581), Taliparamba SRTO (5,441), Ernakulam (5,338), and Thiruvananthapuram (5,308).

On May 2, MVD switched to more stringent test regulations with a focus on “quality rather than quantity”. As part of the move, the number of daily applicants taking the test at a division with a single motor vehicle inspector (MVI) was limited to 30. Centres with two MVIs, such as Ernakulam, were permitted 60 candidates.

However, following a protest by driving schools, where they boycotted tests, the order was revised, increasing the number of applicants taking the test daily to 40 and 80 respectively. The latest revision clears the way for an additional batch of 40 applicants.

Conversely, the move will increase the workload of MVD officials who already feel “overburdened”. The directive can be implemented only by deploying officers from the enforcement wing, the MVD official pointed out.

The new order also relaxed the provision of vehicles that can be used by driving schools for tests. Earlier, vehicles older than 18 years were not permitted. This has been revised to 22 years under the new order. Also, inspectors of driving schools have been exempted from appearing at test grounds if MVD officials can ensure their presence at schools during inspections.

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