Delhi govt gets cracking to clean up Burari transport office
Delhi’s only transport office in Burari that dealt with the inspection and certification of the roughly half a million commercial vehicles in the city will be closed from November.
A chunk of its work will now be distributed to the 13 regional transport offices (RTOs) from next month, officials told Hindustan Times, detailing plans to clean up a centre that was infamous for corruption.
The transport office in north Delhi’s Burari will pave way for a state-of-the-art training and testing centre, which will include a new automated driving test track on its 37-acre campus.
“Corruption and touts were rampant in Burari because for almost 30 years, there has been only one centre for about 6.5 lakh transport vehicles, including auto-rickshaws, cabs, small and medium good carriers and contract carriage buses,” transport minister Kailash Gahlot said.
In July, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal carried out a surprise inspection at the office and said it appeared to be a “den of corruption” with touts and commission agents virtually controlling all work.
Ajay Rawat, an auto-rickshaw driver who was waiting in the queue seeking permit renewal, said those who chose the regular channel were the real sufferers. “The crowd is so overwhelming at Burari that one is compelled to take the help of touts. Who would wait for four hours under a broken tin shed that too without any guarantee of the work being completed in a day. Coming here means giving up on a day’s earnings,” he said.
The Burari centre has two offices: the auto-rickshaw unit (ARU) and the commercial vehicle inspection unit (VIU).
Every day, nearly 400 applicants — auto-rickshaw and taxi owners — line up at the ARU with requests to renew their permits and fitness certificates. These are done after vehicles are inspected.
This work will now be spread over the 13 regional transport offices from October 15, Gahlot said.
“Even in peak summer, I have to conduct tests under this broken shed without even a fan. The plan to spread this work to all RTOs will take the load off inspectors like me who are tasked with checking hundreds of local taxis and autos every day,” said 59-year old RG Singh, a motor vehicle inspector at the Burari ARU.
For other requests such as transfer of ownership, loan endorsement and termination, registration and replacement of autos and taxis, work will be shifted to the transport department’s headquarters at Under Hill road in North Delhi.
The fitness tests of light and medium good vehicles, contract carriage buses, ambulances, three wheeler goods vehicles and others will be shifted to the new Jhuljhuli automated fitness centre from Burari, said Magan Singh, motor licensing officer of the centre.
When HT visited the Burari centre on Wednesday, initial work on the driving track had started. The track will be used by driving licence applicants of the Mall Road RTO, about 6.5 kilometres away.
At present, tests in this RTO are conducted on the main road to Timarpur.
“The proposed institute will offer training to interested participants through high-tech simulators. A theory-based course and an interactive one are being planned. The automated test track and the track of the nearby heavy vehicle training institute will be used for hands-on training,” said an official working on the project.
The RTOs are undergoing a major overhaul with the government taking a slew of measures such as introducing an ‘all-online’ application process from next month and a token system to streamline crowds.
HT visited the Mall road and IP depot RTOs. Works on revamping the offices were on in full swing. The Mall road RTO has introduced pedestal-based touchscreen panels for applicants to give their learner’s licence test while the IP dept RTO had a token vending machine and LED screens in front of every counter to display token updates.
“Additional space is being carved out at all RTOs to build air-conditioned waiting rooms. All offices will have a special room or corner for help desks. Officers at these desks will help applicants fill their online forms and make e-payments,” a transport official said.