The state transport department has been charging money in the name of providing services at the help desk since August 1, 2011, even as no such facility exists in its offices across the state. The collections on providing this non-existent service has now touched Rs 41.93 crore, information provided by the state government to an application under the Right to Information Act has revealed.
The help desks were supposed to guide applicants in completing their documents, forms and also get the required fee deposited at the counters when availing of services like a driving licence, getting a registration certificate, transfer of ownership etc and people could pay a fixed amount for the service.
It was not compulsory to avail of the service and only those who used the facility were liable to pay.
The RTI reply
The head of Ludhiana helpage Charitable Trust, Gurdeep Singh Alag, filed an RTI application with the state transport commissioner asking for details of the help desks set up and the amounts collected etc.
In the reply he received, officers of the department have admitted that the help desks have not yet been set up in any district transport office across the state. In response to another related query, the public information officer has mentioned that Rs 41.93 crore has been collected from the public over the past three years for providing these services.
It is mentioned that the secretary transport had issued orders for establishment of these help desks on August 1, 2011 (No 10/33/2011-2T2/1529). “The department has been fleecing people and the trust will file a writ petition against it,” said Alag. State transport commissioner Ashwani Sharma was not available for comments.