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Mumbai RTOs deserted after crackdown on unauthorised agents, touts begins

For the first time in two-and-a-half years, the Maharashtra motor vehicle department (MMVD) has started a crackdown on touts

mumbai Updated: Jul 21, 2017 00:19 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,RTOs,touts
Deserted RTOs were a common sight in Mumbai on Thursday.(HT Photo)

Regional transport offices (RTOs) in Mumbai and its neighbouring areas were deserted after touts and unauthorised agents were banned from the premises on Wednesday.

The move came after an unauthorised agent at the Tardeo RTO was caught overcharging for a duplicate driving licence on Wednesday. Officials said he had demanded Rs800 for a licence which officially costs Rs264. RTO officials had asked people not to patronise touts or pay them extra.

On Thursday, the Tardeo RTO was deserted. The agents’ tables and chairs, set up at the spot they usually sit, were empty. Few agents ventured into the registration, driving licence and other sections, which are otherwise crowded.

A senior official said a big board has been put up outside the RTOs, telling people not to approach unauthorised agents.

The Wadala, Andheri and Borivli RTOs also restricted the entry of touts. Only agents with authority letters were permitted to enter. A staffer at the Andheri RTO said his superiors had told them to stay away from agents and touts.

For the first time in two-and-a-half years, the Maharashtra motor vehicle department (MMVD) started its crackdown on such touts earlier this week. Transport commissioner Praveen Gedam directed all the RTOs to conduct surprise checks in their offices and ask police to file complaints against such people.

RTO officials said they had asked the local police agents to help them evacuate touts from their premises, so as to avoid a law and order situation.

They, however, are doubtful how successful the drive will be if the lack of infrastructure and staff crunch are not addressed first. “If our department makes e-payment an option, it will automatically reduce footfall at RTOs. People’s reliance on touts will also decrease,” said an official.

RTOs have implemented a new Vahan 4.0 system, used to register vehicles, and a new Sarathi 4.0 system, used to issue licences at more than 40 offices across the state. However, these systems are not fully functional. They develop snags repeatedly. Often, residents resort to approaching touts as a time-saving measure.

First Published: Jul 21, 2017 00:19 IST