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Getting driver's licence: A tout story

To get a driver's licence, what you have to counter is nothing short of a licence raj. Your mammoth effort will not be enough to get you the licence to drive on Delhi's roads. Rajat Arora reports.

delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2012 17:07 IST
Rajat Arora

To get a driver's licence, what you have to counter is nothing short of a licence raj. Your mammoth effort will not be enough to get you the licence to drive on Delhi's roads.

However, like in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, help is always given to those who ask for it. At transport department offices, this help comes in the form of touts.

Though the Delhi government had overhauled the licensing system in 2010, HT's visit to several zonal transport offices revealed that little had changed on the ground. The system has been digitised, yet you can still get your driving licence without appearing for the test. Just pay Rs 2,000 to the tout.

Several touts approached this reporter as soon as he entered the Sheikh Sarai transport office. Most of them said they would help him clear the computerised learner's licence test and get him a permanent licence after a month.

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"You need to pay Rs 2,000. You don't have to take any driving test," said a tout at Sheikh Sarai. And the bonus: No standing in long queues for hours on end. "If you apply for a licence on your own, you may get the learner's license after wasting an entire day. And there are chances the inspector might fail you in the driving test for the permanent licence," he added.

HT's investigation proved that the tout right. At Sheikh Sarai, we found several people who had been rejected in the driving test, but got the licence even without taking the test when a tout was involved. "I was rejected twice last month. But a tout's help got me the licence," said Rajesh (name changed).

One could see touts getting many applications cleared without any test. An applicant was taken to a transport office staff by the tout. This staff kept prompting the applicant with correct answers when he was taking the computerised test. The motor vehicle inspector, sitting a table away, remained a silent spectator and later cleared that application.

HT visited the Mayur Vihar transport department office too. Here, touts approached people in the parking lot itself. When this reporter told a tout named Sanjiv he didn't have a local identification card, he said, "I will get you an LIC policy in 15 days. Then you can apply here for a licence. Just come here for your photograph. I'll charge Rs 3,000 for the entire job."

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