The Union government’s decision to hike fees for driving licences, vehicle registration, fitness renewal and permit authorisation — by amending the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) 1989 — has angered autorickshaw, taxi and other transport unions. Upset with the exponential fees hike, the unions are likely to oppose it and may even launch protests to this effect.
The ministry of road transport and highway amended the CMVR for the 22nd time, hiking the feess after nearly 28 years. Transporters, however, said the decision has come at a bad time, as demonetisation has hit their businesses hard.
According to the amendment, a learning license will now cost Rs150 instead Rs30, while a permanent license will cost Rs300 instead of Rs50.
Earlier, a person did not have to pay to reappear for a driving test if he failed the previous one. However, now each new attempt will cost the driver. Adding a new vehicle to your driving license will cost Rs500 instead of Rs200.
RTO sources said offices in the city did not see much work being done on Saturday owing to the implementation of the new fee structure. In the absence of necessary updates to the VAHAN and SARATHI systems used to register licences and vehicles at RTOs, several people were forced to return home empty-handed. According to agents, people who did not have enough money to pay the fees were also turned away.
Unions are upset with the fees hike for vehicle registration, delay in renewal of fitness certification, bank authorisation of the all-India tourist permit and fees to obtain a hypothecation agreement. Unions said the increased fees will financially wound them. Bus, truck and taxi owners will have to pay Rs10,000 to renew their all-India permit authentication, which earlier cost Rs500. They will have to shell out Rs7,500 for a duplicate set of these papers.
The Union government has stated that a driver has to pay Rs50 a day if he delays renewing his fitness certificate. This means that if a driver takes his vehicle for fitness renewal two weeks late, he will have to pay Rs700. The state had earlier introduced a similar policy, however, after receiving numerous complaints, it retracted the decision and imposed a fee of Rs100 for light vehicles and Rs200 for heavy vehicles, for a delay of a fortnight.
A senior RTO official said that as the latest amendment makes no provision for an upper cap on the fees for delayed fitness, this will badly affect transporters, especially those who drive smaller vehicles such as taxis and autorickshaws.
“We are studying the notification and assessing what its impact will be on the industry. We will take action after this,” said Harsh Kotak, a leader of bus operators.
Taxi union leader AL Quadros said the decision would affect members of the union. “We will certainly oppose the decision. After discussions with the various trade unions in Delhi, Kolkata and other cities, we will announce our course of action,” Quadros said.
Shashank Rao, leader of Mumbai Taximens Autorickshawmens Union said that they are going to call a statewide meeting of autorickshaw leaders next week, during which they will announce what they plan to do.
Meanwhile, questions are being raised as to why it took the Union government 10 days to inform the state of the amendments to the act. RTO officials said they are being asked to recover the difference in fees from the day the rules were amended, but they do not see any means of doing so.