City transport office has 9 inspectors against the required 26

People waiting for smartcards in place of their driving licences and vehicle records would now have to wait for at least a month as the Regional Transport Office (RTO) in the city is facing a severe staff crunch.

Though the RTO office has a new look owing to the many recent changes, the lack of required staff appears to be affecting its functioning.

A year ago, people could obtain the smartcards within 15 days while it takes more than a month now. Renewal of licences for taxies is also affected by the delay.

RTO officials are forced multitask in order to clear the workload. Each Inspector of Motor Vehicles (IMV) has to do the work of nearly three IMVs. As against the sanctioned strength of 26, the RTO in Mangalore has only 9 IMVs.

“Working until evening to clear pending files has become regular feature. If we do not do it for a day, the file mounts the next day,” said an officer.

A typical scene in the RTO office at A.B. Shetty circle seems to corroborate what he says. An IMV holding a bunch of applications for the registration of new vehicles rushes through his work. He quickly checks documents while recording engine and chassis numbers of new vehicles as stated by representatives of the vehicle dealers. He appears to clear a big bunch of applications in one hour.

The RTO office in the city receives an average of 150 applications for smartcards in place of existing ones, 135 applications for driving licenses, 125 new vehicle registrations, around 70 applications for issuance of vehicle fitness certificate and issuance of learners licence, 50 applications for renewal of vehicle licences. Apart from clearing these applications, an IMV is tasked with giving reports on accidents, enforcement of the Motor Vehicles Act, issuance of permits at the checkpost in Sarpady and also performing survey of bus routes.

The IMVs have to conduct camps at B.C. Road, Moodbidri and Vittal during a week where they also have to handle all the applications pertaining to those regions.

Regional Transport Officer C. Mallikarjuna said priority is being given to clearing applications for Learners Licence (LL), Driving Licence (DL), registration of vehicles, and issuance of duplicate LL and DL that are covered under the Right to Services Act (Sakala). This delays the issuance of smartcards and renewal of licence of taxi drivers, which is done once every three years. The posts of IMVs are vacant because of pendency of petition before the Supreme Court challenging selection of around 100 IMVs a year ago, he said.

In Puttur too

The situation in RTO in Puttur is no better, it appears. The RTO, which covers Puttur, Belthangady and Sullia has only two IMVs. Apart from attending to applications in Puttur, these two IMVs have to conduct regular sittings in Belthangady and Sullia and clear applications of that region. “If we fail to hold sittings because of paucity of time on any day, calls go to the local leaders and we are taken to task. Not many inspectors are coming forward to work here because of this pressure,” an officer said on condition of anonymity.

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