Functions of the office in Ernakulam have been brought to a grinding halt because it has run out of funds to buy stamps.

The mighty Regional Transport Office in Ernakulam has been brought to its knees by the humble postage stamp. Some of the key functions of the office in Ernakulam have been brought to a grinding halt simply because it has run out of funds to buy stamps.

The department has to rely on post to deliver summons and other official communication. Having almost run out of funds demarcated for stamps, the department is forced to prioritise its despatch. Documents for important legal procedures get top priority while some other duties take a back seat. The police’s recent drive against auto drivers and other motorists violating norms has landed the RTO with several recommendations for cancellation of licences. To even begin the procedure for driving licence cancellation, the office has to summon the person by registered post to hear their explanation. For now though, traffic rule violators are the least of RTO’s worries.

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While preferring to travel in an autorickshaw to reach the Collectorate in time to file her nomination, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Anita Pratap seemed unaware of the severe regular traffic congestion between MG Road and Civil station in Kakkanad. So she arrived at the returning officer’s cabin seven minutes after the prescribed time for filing nomination on Thursday. When District Collector and returning officer M G Rajamaickam asked her the reason for the delay, Ms Anita said the ‘simplest mode of transport’ she chose was trapped in the traffic block. When the Collector pointed out that the Election Commission permits filing nomination only between 11 am and 3 pm, she left his chamber saying she would file it on Friday during morning hours. AAP workers who accompanied her said she would use autorickshaw to travel on Friday as well. Like the broom, autorickshaw is also emerging as a symbol for AAP.

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Far away from the hustle and bustle of New Delhi, it was a perfect holidaying for Sheila Dixit in Fort Kochi on Thursday.

The newly appointed Governor of Kerala, who visited the place with her family members, had a packed schedule which included a visit to the iconic Dutch Palace, Jew Street and the Synagogue. During the visit that lasted nearly four hours, she also watched the Chinese fishing nets in action and had a lunch in traditional Kerala style.

According to sources who accompanied the entourage, the high-point of the visit was her rendezvous with people on the streets of Fort Kochi. She interacted freely with whoever approached her. “The Governor was in such a relaxed state of mind that she even permitted them to take pictures along with her,” they said. Upon finishing the trip, the Governor even thanked the officials for facilitating the visit.

(By Nidhi Surendranath, K.A. Shaji, Hiran Unnikrishnan )

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