Government forced to switch back to manual vehicle fitness checks at Burari
The transport authority in North Delhi’s Burari, which chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had called a “den of corruption”, is far from being shut despite his direction in July last year.
In an order issued on Tuesday, the city’s transport department said it has shifted fitness tests of taxis back to the vehicle inspection unit (VIU) in Burari.
Nearly 35,000 taxis registered under the DL1Z series, including new additions, will now skip automated tests that remove any human intervention.
They will instead be checked manually at Burari as was being done until over a year ago. At present, the Delhi government has only one automated vehicle fitness test centre in Outer Delhi’s Jhuljhuli.
Tuesday’s order also stated that all government vehicles attached with the public works department (PWD), the Delhi Jal Board and the municipal corporations will be checked manually at the Burari centre.
Asked why vehicle fitness was being shifted from automated to the manual mode, transport department officials said the Jhuljhuli centre was unable to take the load of about 400 vehicles that ended up at the unit every day.
“Since the centre is fully automated, each vehicle, from the time of entering to exiting the unit, takes nearly 2.5 hours to be tested. As a result, the waiting time for fitness of vehicles is going up to 22 days. This was becoming a big problem, especially in case of public service vehicles. Now, with some categories of cars shifted to Burari, the load is off Jhuljhuli,” said Anil Chhikara, the motor licensing officer at the Jhuljhuli centre.
Chhikara said that the area, about 12 kms from Najafgarh, also faces law and order issues. “There are goons who extort money from taxis, buses and heavy vehicles that come to Jhuljhuli for fitness tests. Two licensing officers have resigned from there and two FIRs have been filed by the transport department against a few of them the goons. So, just like Burari, a tout culture is building up at Jhuljhuli too,” Chhikara said.
Spread across 37 acres, the Burari RTO has two units – the auto-rickshaw unit (ARU) and the commercial vehicle inspection unit (VIU).
After Kejriwal’s inspection in July last year, the government had decided to shut both units at Burari. The government had then prepared a plan to build a state-of-the-art training-cum-test institute on the 37-acre plot, which now has been put on hold.
Even the ARU at Burari, which Kejriwal had asked to be shut and decentralised to the 13 RTOs across the city, is back in operation. In November, 2019, Kejriwal himself directed the department to reopen the Burari ARU after auto unions complained that the decentralised RTOs were not equipped to conduct fitness tests.
A report prepared by the transport department says the ARU unit alone sees nearly double the crowd compared to the 13 regional transport offices (RTOs) put together.
Rajesh Meena, licensing officer of the auto unit, said it gets more than 500 auto-rickshaws every day for fitness tests.
The count at the RTOs specially opened for auto-rickshaws since September have fallen to 50 a day.