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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Smart cards out of stock in RLA: RCS, licences backlog mounts to 20,000

Vivek Gupta , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, April 14, 2014
First Published: 09:17 IST(14/4/2014) | Last Updated: 09:19 IST(14/4/2014)

While the UT transport department’s Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA has) been earning lakhs of rupees by auctioning fancy vehicle numbers, its delivery system appears to be a complete shambles.

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The work of issuing vehicle registration certificates (RCs) and driver’s licences has virtually come to a standstill as the smart cards on which the RCs and licences are printed are of stock.

As a result, chaos, harassment and inordinate delay have become the order of the day at the RLA offices in the city with applicants running from pillar to post for the past one month.

If sources at the RLA are to be believed, over 20,000 RCs and driver’s licences have been pending for printing with the number of applications rising, adding 500 cases everyday.

The situation is no different at the offices of the subdivisional magistrate (south) and the SDM (east) in Sector 42 and the Industrial Area, respectively, both of which have run up a huge backlog.

Every day residents waste money, time and energy to get their RCs and driver’s licences on the scheduled date but they are sent back without any specific new date. Applicants end up making several rounds to check if the RC and/or licence is ready.

Pardeep Sharma, one such harassed city resident, said, despite being one of the top UT administration departments in revenues, it was deplorable the delivery system at the RLA offices was in such a mess.

“I’ve already visited the RLA office twice after my scheduled date came up, but all in vain,” he said.

“Office goers have to first take leave before visiting the RLA office, as with the long lines and frequently empty counters it can take over half a day to get your work done. Who is to be held accountable for such a casual way of functioning?” said another resident, Surinder Kumar.

Others said instead of uploading details on whether an RC has been processed or will take more time on the RLA website, applicants are forced to come in person to its office to check the status.

City lawyer Ajay Jagga said the RLA netted ` 98 lakh l by putting fancy vehicle numbers of one series on the hammer. “What’s the use if the RLA can’t streamline its delivery system,” he questioned.

RLA BLAMES SPIC FOR THE DELAY

UT Registering and Licensing Officer Ram Jay Singh asserted the RLA was under tremendous pressure due to the shortage of smart cards that caused a lot of inconvenience to city residents.

He, however, blamed the Society for Promotion of IT in Chandigarh (SPIC), a semigovernment agency headed by the UT adviser, which makes and supplies the smart cards to the RLA, for the delay.

“Several reminders have already been sent to the SPIC to provide us the cards till June but the supply has not been resumed,” he added.

A official, seeking anonymity, said the transport department top brass was in favour of dropping SPIC and bringing the procurement of smart cards directly under its control.

SPIC’s centre head Anil Prashar could not be contacted.

NOT THE FIRST TIME

Incidentally, this is not the first time the RLA is facing a huge shortage of smart cards.

Despite the fact that every now and then the RLA has been facing this problem senior officials have failed to address it. Last year, the printer at RLA went out of order, leading to a lot of inconvenience.

Residents have questioned the revenue-rich UT transport department for its creaky delivery system.

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