HYDERABAD: The first day of the new financial year came as a shock for many public transport vehicle owners. Even as Covid- 19 relaxations came provided a little respite, the penalties under the new Central Motor Vehicle rules, which were calculated from the day of default, left them fuming.
Those who applied for fitness on April 1 — the day when the new rules came into force — were in utter disbelief when the total amount of fees and penalty was revealed. As per the new norms, the penalty of Rs 50 per day was imposed from the day of default. For instance, the penalties for auto-rickshaws were upto Rs 50,000 (pending for last one to two years).
“When I booked the slot, I was shocked to see that the total amount. It showed Rs 48,350 for my auto-rickshaw, the fitness of which lapsed in 2019 and they have charged me for each day since the day of lapse. We could not do it on time due to Covid,” said Syed Younus of Yousufguda. Notably, the authorities had announced relaxations for the vehicle owners during Covid and they were told that they can pay the fees and penalties later.
The Central Motor Vehicle (23rd Amendment) Rules, 2021, came into force from April 1. Besides making the renewal of registration of 15- year-old vehicles a costly affair, exorbitant fees and penalties are also leaving the owners distraught.
“The penalties now cost more than the resale value of the vehicle. If this continues, the vehicle owners will be forced to sell their vehicles rather than driving it. No one is ready to pay such hefty sums in penalties as they can’t afford it. If the government fails to address this issue, we shall launch an indefinite strike from April 11,” A Sathi Reddy of JAC of TS Auto Drivers’ Union.
Some people also questioned the way the State’s RTA has adopted the rules without any public notice or media release. “This is not the way to implement new rules. The issue was not brought to the notice of the general public. Why haven’t they made any official communication?” asked M Dayanand, a road transport activist.
Meanwhile, the RTA officials acknowledging that there was no circular or GO by State explained that it was being implemented in view of the latest rules. “The State authorities did not make any changes and this is being implemented in accordance with the Center’s guidelines and fees structure. The software is upgraded here accordingly,” informed an official, on condition of anonymity.