The city police’s drive to trace stolen cars may not be helpful for people whose cars were registered a while ago.
The Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in the city are yet to computerise data on cars registered a few years ago. Neither the police nor the RTO are prepared to have their men enter these details from registers into computers because it is a long process.
The transport department does not have information about the years for which records are yet to be computerised. So if the police want to verify details about a car registered a few years ago they will have to rummage through old files in RTO offices for the data.
The police launched a vehicle registration verification drive in central Mumbai in September to track stolen vehicles by tallying their details with the details in the RTO’s records. If the details did not match, the police would investigate. “With the database incomplete, there are many registration numbers that are not available to us,” said an officer associated with the drive, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. “There are times when we come across suspicious vehicles but we have to let go them go after a routine check because we not have enough information to check if registration number and make of the vehicle match with RTO records.”
Additional commissioner of police (central region), Vineet Agarwal, who initiated the drive, agreed that the police do not have the records of all the vehicles registered under the four city RTOs. “The RTOs have told us to come and collect the data from the registers, which can be a very long process,” Agarwal said, adding that the police would wait for the RTO to finish computerising the data and then transfer it to their records.
“We are trying to make the best use of the details we already have.” Transport commissioner, Dilip Jadhav, said although the data was not fully computerised, his department will be able to help the police with information if they provide basic details about the cars they need to trace. “The police will have to provide their men for this because we are already short-staffed and cannot ask our men to collate data,” Jadhav said.