Maharashtra body alleges corruption, opposes modernisation in transportation sector
Writes letter to minister Nitin Gadkari stating transporters are facing harassment from officials.Updated: Nov 23, 2019 14:54 IST
PUNE: The Maharashtra State Goods and Passenger Transport association has opposed the Union transport ministry’s modernisation initiatives alleging that there is high corruption in the purchase of equipment required for the plan.
On November 18, the association president Baba Shinde wrote to Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari that transporters in Maharashtra were facing harassment on account of this. Pune RTO (Regional Transport Office) has rejected the charge saying that safety features cannot be compromised with.
Shinde, in his letter, said that as per the central government directive, all commercial transport vehicles are required to comply with the ‘Fastag’ automatic toll collection system from December 1. However, transporters were facing high degree of corruption and harassment on account of this, he said in the letter.
“The cost of Fastag installation is Rs 400 as per government rules, but in reality, it is being sold at Rs 700 to Rs 900 without receipt,” he said in his letter.
He also pointed out that there are 7.72 lakh transport vehicles on contract, such as school buses, company staff buses and four-wheeler tempos which don’t need Fastags as they do not go outside city limits. However, they too were being forced to install Fastag, he alleged, stating that this would result in unnecessary expenditure of around Rs 50 crore for transporters.
Shinde said there was corruption even in the case of installation of speed governors which were made compulsory for all transport vehicles since April 1, 2017.
“Initially, the manufacturers sold them at an inflated price of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000. Now, every time during the yearly RTO passing of the vehicle Rs 2,000 is demanded for its upgradation. If the speed governors are found to be faulty during the RTO inspection, the vehicle owner has to get it repaired or install a new one. All this is done without proper bills or receipts and leads to additional financial burden on transporters,” Shinde said.
He also opposed the drive for mandatory installation of reflectors and radium strips for better safety, demanding that the central government should take measures for efficient and corruption-free installation of these new systems.
RTO, Pune refutes allegations
Refuting these allegations, deputy regional transport officer (Pune), Sanjeev Bhor said, “Installation of Fastags is compulsory by the central government and it is available at a fixed price at various places. If anyone is selling it a higher price then the transport association should complain to us and we will take action. In the case of speed governance unit and reflectors, vehicles come to us only for new registrations and yearly fitness passing work. If the vehicle has complied with all the norms laid out by the central government and the Motor Vehicle Act, it will be passed. Speed governance and reflectors are safety features which cannot be compromised.”