The raid conducted by the Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal at the Suvidha Centre on June 20, wherein officials had confiscated 62 forms regarding driving licences and registration certificates (RCs) of vehicles from a commission agent, served no purpose, as dozens of agents can still be seen hovering outside the office of the district transport officer (DTO).
The case was handed over to the vigilance department by the chief secretary for a detailed inquiry. While the vigilance senior superintendent of police (SSP) is yet to submit his report, these agents fleecing people in the name of “providing service” go unchecked.
Call it apathy of the state government or sheer nonchalance towards the “reforms” in public dealing offices like DTO, there has been no new recruitment in the DTO office for the past 10 years.
As a result, a DTO, an ADTO (additional district transport officer), one motor vehicle inspector and seven clerks are unable to cater to an average of 2,000 visitors to the DTO office daily.
On the other hand, the sanctioned posts include a DTO, two ADTOs, 15 clerks, one stenographer and one full-time motor vehicle inspector.
A visitor, who had come to submit his application for licence renewal, while speaking on behalf of the public blamed the government for “bad governance”.
“What kind of services is the SAD-BJP government providing, when people are unable to get their work done for weeks and months at the DTO office. It is unfair to hold the employees responsible as each one of them is working more than his or her capacity. The government should recruit more people for clerical and field work in addition to extra staff to help people in filling their applications,” he said, while wishing not to be named.
Another applicant, Baljinder Singh, a senior citizen, highlighted the plight of uneducated people, especially villagers, who he said had no option but to approach the touts for filling and submitting their forms.
“People do not mind paying ? 200-?500 for filling forms followed by their submission and getting RCs and licences, as there is no such provision at the end of the government, which is why the commission agents are getting business,” Baljinder added.
I have conducted numerous checks followed by warnings but nothing works. These agents are engaged by the public, still we are trying our best to keep them out. But it is difficult to catch them with the given staff, which is already working overtime. I have made a suggestion to create a helpdesk wherein the staff should help people with their applications/queries.