After taking stern action to eliminate agents and touts from the regional transport offices (RTOs) across the state, transport commissioner Mahesh Zagade paid a surprise visit at the Wadala RTO on Friday afternoon.
The visit proved to be significant as Zagade himself caught an unauthorised person of an autorickshaw union at the RTO, who was there to renew permits. Uttam Duggal, 52, did not have an authority letter and tried to run away from the spot. The Wadala RTO officials later filed a complaint at the local police station against him.
Sources in Wadala RTO said Duggal was also a collection agent of a co-operative financial institution. A senior RTO official said, “We have filed a complaint against him as it will deter others from flouting the transport commissioner’s directive.”
For over an hour — as long as Zagade was present at the office — the RTO officials were on their toes. The driving school staff members and activists from unions present on the premises were seen running helter-skelter.
According to sources, Zagade also probed a staff member of a motor training school, who was carrying a bunch of forms. It was found that he was paying the fees for the applicants, who were to appear for their driving tests.
The Wadala RTO office said Zagade reviewed the quality of the services provided to the public, office infrastructure and the new site for relocating the RTO in the eastern suburbs. He also spoke to the people present at the office.
“The transport commissioner reviewed the new driving licence system,” said a senior RTO official.
When contacted, Zagade said the idea of the surprise visit was to seek public opinion on the initiative to crack down against agents.
“I had gone to the Wadala RTO to speak to people and know what they thought about the latest drive against agents and touts. Those I spoke to said they are happy that the agents are out and they are getting better service,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zagade has appealed to the people to approach the RTO offices directly without seeking help from middlemen.
Zagade had paid a similar visit to Worli office of the RTO last Saturday. There, too, he reportedly caught an agent and found a diary on him that contained details of money paid to certain people. He was let off with a warning.
Ten days ago, Zagade issued a letter to all the RTOs across the state, asking them to make the offices free of agents and touts. He had also warned that strict action will be taken against RTO officials, if agents were spotted during his surprise visits.