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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

600 DTC drivers colour blind, Kejriwal informed

PTI  New Delhi, January 22, 2014
First Published: 16:20 IST(22/1/2014) | Last Updated: 16:21 IST(22/1/2014)

Travelling by DTC bus? Think twice as about 600 drivers are alleged to be colour blind but still driving on the basis of fake medical fitness certificates.

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This serious issue concerning safety of passengers has been brought to the notice of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal by information commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu.

In an open letter to the chief minister, Acharyulu said he came across the information that hundreds of drivers have produced fake medical fitness certificates and continue to work on the basis of it.

"It is alleged that at least 600 have colour blindness and many others suffer from other problems. I apprehend (and every one will agree) that if this is even partly true, the right to life of commuters in Delhi city will be under serious and constant threat until it is ensured that every driver is fit enough to drive the buses," Acharyulu wrote in his letter to Kejriwal.

Expressing his helplessness in taking any action but to order disclosure of information, the Information Commissioner said the RTI application was about a single driver, which led to investigation leading to revelation that hundreds of such drivers were allegedly appointed without "fitness".

"The matter of concern is that the RTI application dates back to June 18, 2012, which is passing through different layers of bureaucracy and yet to reach finality. During submissions vigilance officer and appellant said that several hundred cases of such appointment of drivers without fitness are suspected and need to be enquired into," he wrote.

Underlining that he was writing this letter in the capacity of a citizen, Acharyulu said there was a serious urgency to look into the issue.

The alleged fraud came to light while Acharyulu was hearing a plea by one Dhan Singh, who sought information from DTC on nine-points regarding the procedure for recruitment of drivers including action taken on those drivers who were appointed on the basis of fake medical certificates.

During the hearing, Singh alleged that thousands of drivers in the DTC are working on the basis of fake medical certificates and as per Rule 9 of DTC Rules and Regulations, the medical board of DTC cannot send such applicants for selection for the post of driver.

The vigilance officer also submitted that there were some complaints which need enquiry involving around 300-400 drivers who had allegedly produced fake certificates and the enquiry about the genuineness of certificates produced by these drivers was going on.

An independent medical board is examining the persons against whom the complaints were made at different hospitals, the officer said while pleading to withhold information as inquiry in hundreds of such cases was already going on.

"The vigilance officer says that as and when they receive complaints they are sending concerned candidates for examination by independent medical board and initiating enquiries into complaints," Acharyulu noted in order but rejected the contention that records should not be disclosed pending inquiry.

"The commission directs the respondents to furnish information about cases in which the investigation is completed without waiting for conclusion of inquiry or for final action taken report, as the information would not impede investigation, which is already concluded," he said.

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