Soaring real estate prices seems to be enough indication of a lack of open spaces in the city, but the state transport department seems unfazed. The department is scouting for land to shift its eastern regional transport office (RTO) at Wadala.
Transport officials said they were exploring larger land options in the eastern suburbs like Mulund, Chembur and Bhandup to set up a dedicated office. “Currently, the transport office is housed only on one floor of the building and there isn't enough open space for carrying out driving tests and keeping illegal vehicles seized by the department,” said a official from the Wadala RTO, on condition of anonymity.
The Wadala RTO faced this problem during their drive against illegal taxis and auto rickshaws in July. After seizing around 500 vehicles, they had to keep them at a depot belonging to the state road transport at Kurla. Now, they are keen on acquiring land from either other government agencies or private developers. The land requirement was discussed at a meeting last week with the state transport minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.
"It was a routine meeting where the minister was updated on the present status of projects including the Wadala RTO," said Dilip Jadhav, transport commissioner.
A new office will require a land space of anywhere between 5,000 to 7,000 sq feet.
The transport department is also searching for another accommodation for a new RTO at Borivli and Navi Mumbai.
The new RTO will handle vehicle registration and issue driving licenses from Jogeshwari to Dahisar.
Meanwhile, work on the new Andheri RTO building is expected to be completed by December 2010, three years after it started. The present office and other infrastructure will be shifted in to this three-storeyed building. The department plans to split the Thane RTO office into sub-RTOs at Vasai and Panvel. The Vasai office will service people from Mira Road, Bhayander, Vasai, Virar, Palghar and Dahanu. The Panvel office will provide services to the people of Karjat, Khalapur, Kamothe and Kalamboli.