Hundreds of new vehicles hit the city’s roads daily, but regional transport offices (RTOs) lack the infrastructure to test their road-worthiness.
In the wake of a high court directive, Maharashtra’s motor vehicle department (MVD) has started initiatives to overcome the space crunch faced by city RTOs. The department has sought a 25-acre plot, owned by the Willingdon Club in Mahalaxmi, to expand the Tardeo RTO.
While hearing a petition filed by Pune activist Shrikant Karve last October, Bombay high court had directed all RTOs to conduct fitness tests on a 250-m-long test track, to check whether a vehicle is road worthy.
In the wake of the directive, the transport commissioner, who heads the MVD, had written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) before the civic polls and requested it to reserve two plots controlled by the neighbouring Willingdon club, for the Tardeo RTO, in the development plan.
Spread over 61 acres, Willingdon is one of the city’s renowned clubs. Spread over 24 ,000 sq km, Tardeo RTO is the city’s oldest RTO offices. Thousands visit the RTO daily, but it is forced to conduct vehicle fitness tests and driving tests in a limited space.
Sources said the first transport commissioner, Shyam Vardhane, had demanded around four acres of club land for the RTO last July. In the wake of the high court directive, transport commissioner Praveen Gedam reiterated the demand. In a bid to justify the demand, the MVCD said there are more than 27 lakh vehicles on the city’s roads.