HYDERABAD: Even a year after all the 57 essential transactions of Regional Transport Authority went online, touts occupy a major role at RTOs in Hyderabad. The Automated Online Service (AOS) was essentially launched to bring about transparency in services and keep middlemen at bay.
However, due to lack of awareness about online slot booking, many people still approach agents who hover in and around the offices. Moreover, officials themselves are directing people to particular agents to get their work done on time.
To one’s surprise, these agents are ready with a laptop or smartphone with high-speed Internet service to book the slots online for customers in return for a commission. In some cases, the services can be availed even before the allotted date and time, for a hefty commission.
For instance, recently, a 62-year-old Venkata Ramana, who is not aware of the online slot booking system launched by the department last year, visited RTA office in Khairatabad to renew his driving licence.
“After learning about the new system, I asked the official how to fill the form up online. Soon, a Home Guard guided me to an agent who was standing outside,” he said, adding that the agent demanded `500, assuring him that the work would be done in an hour or two.
A former transport official admitted that there was rampant corruption in all offices particularly in Khairatabad, Medchal, Mehdipatnam, Uppal, and Kondapur where thousands of transactions take place every day. With the cooperation of higher officials in the office, agents are earning anywhere between `5,000 and 8,000, after giving officials concerned their share of the money.
When asked, B Sairam Reddy, motor vehicle inspector at the Kondapur driving track, said that people should stop approaching the agents and driving schools as every service was available online now.
Bad condition of driver testing tracks at Kondapur RTA is giving a tough challenge to applicants who come to prove their driving skills. Every day, nearly 150 candidates go there to prove their driving skills on four driving tracks _ two for four-wheelers _ which are in a bad shape. “There are two 8-shaped and two H-shaped tracks here but have not been well maintained for many years due to lack of funds,” said an official.
There are 11 RTA offices and five testing tracks in GHMC limits but many applicants are asked to undergo driving test the Kondapur centre as all other centres are situated on the outskirts of the city.