Acting on directives issued by transport commissioner Mahesh Zagade, all three regional transport offices (RTO) in the city have closed their doors to agents.
Besides restricting their entry in office premises, they have also made an authority letter mandatory, if anyone wants to depute another person for any RTO works on their behalf.
Zagade had written a ‘red-inked’ letter to all RTOs recently, asking them to prevent the entry of agents and touts or face disciplinary action. And most RTOs had appointed uniformed officers to man the gates to their premises and prevent the entry of agents. “Yes, we have been maintaining an entry register at the gate,” said
Subhash Pedamkar, deputy RTO, Tardeo. They have also put up posters and banners asking visitors to be aware of agents have also been put up.
Most people prefer to pay agents for the procurement of driving licenses, vehicle transfers, change of address formalities and for payment of taxes, a practice that will be a thing of the past.
Moreovers, to help visitors, the RTOs have also set-up guidance centres. “Many people may find RTO forms confusing. The guidance centre will help them,” said Sanjay Sasane, deputy RTO at Wadala.
The restriction of agents however has affected their livelihoods and a group of agents said they were planning a protest at the Thane RTO. They are demanding a legal status citing the 2007 directives of the Nagpur bench of the high court.
“For a handful of bad people, why is the transport department punishing everybody?” said Charan Malhotra, who has been working as an agent since 1975.