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Getting fitness certificate to get tougher for public vehicles

All public commercial vehicles and transport vehicles, including BEST buses, taxis and autorickshaws, will now have to go through strict inspection to get the annual fitness certificate. Kailash Korde reports.

mumbai Updated: Sep 03, 2012 02:33 IST
Kailash Korde

All public commercial vehicles and transport vehicles, including BEST buses, taxis and autorickshaws, will now have to go through strict inspection to get the annual fitness certificate.

A circular issued on August 28 by the transport department has instructed all regional transport offices (RTO) across the state to ensure that only roadworthy vehicles get the fitness certificates.

The circular has asked all RTO offices to follow the procedure laid down in rule 62 of Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.

Last month, while hearing a petition filed by Pune-based petitioner about RTOs not following the proper procedure, the Bombay high court had ordered that no certificate should be issued to a public commercial vehicle unless the appropriate verification and checks had been carried out by the RTO inspector.

The circular instructed that a vehicle inspector must carry out physical inspection, and check the breaks and steering wheel by driving the vehicle. "We have been asked to take special precaution while issuing fitness certificates to school buses," a vehicle inspector said.

The transport department has also made it mandatory for the RTO, deputy RTO and assistant RTO to re-inspect at least 10-20% of the total vehicles approaching them for fitness certificate.

At the same time, the circular suggested maintaining proper records of the certificates issued and appointing sufficient number of vehicle inspectors.

The state has the highest vehicular population in the country and every year more than 12,000 people are killed in road accidents. However, due to inadequate space, infrastructure and manpower, proper inspection and tests of vehicle aren't carried out before issuing fitness certificates.

"It takes at least 15-20 minutes for physical inspection of each heavy vehicle. Backlog of vehicles approaching for fitness may go up and various unions will start agitating against us," said a senior RTO official on condition of anonymity.

However another official said if the vehicle owners approached them 15 days earlier as permitted in law books, there wouldn't be too much backlog.