People in the district have been a harried lot for the past three to four months due to alleged mismanagement in the district transport office (DTO) in issuing driving licences. A large number of cases have been lying pending. In the absence of a proper system to check the applications, the people have to depend on private agents. Several protests have been held in the past but there is no end to miseries of the common man as things remain unchanged.
Hindustan Times grilled deputy commissioner Varun Roojam on the issue. Excerpts:
All does not seem to be well in the DTO as people have been facing a lot of difficulty in getting driving licences. There are complaints of inordinate delay and lack of proper system to handle the cases. More than 1,500 files have been reportedly lying pending on the table of the transport officer for the past three to four months. Are you doing anything in this respect?
I am also very much worried on this and I have taken up the matter with the state government to appoint permanent officers in the office but so far no avail.
Private agents seem to have captured the office and there seems to be a nexus between employees of the transport department and private agents. Why the administration fails to check activities of agents?
It is wrong to say that we have failed to check private agents mushrooming in the district. The administration has installed CCTV ameras around the office to have an on unscrupulous activities and of late the role of agents has been nullified.
What is the main reason behind the delay in issuing licences and what steps have you taken to improve things in the department?
At least one permanent district transport officer and two assistant district transport officers are needed to run the affairs in this office smoothly. I have written many a time and personally talked to higher authorities in this regard but to no avail so far. I have to depute an official with additional charge of this office in the absence of permanent staff.
On Thursday, the entire staff in the office was reported to have been missing as all of them were on leave and the administration came to know of the situation after people approached senior officials?
It was really a serious incident and strong action would be taken against erring officials if they failed to give any satisfactory reply on show-cause notices.
When people will be able to get satisfactory and services from the transport department?
I can't say anything on this. The transport department has its own organisational structure and it is upon senior officials of the department to do the needful. I can only write and talk to them to depute the staff in the district so that the office runs smoothly.