There is hardly any diesel left to power the enforcement squad vehicles of the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) in the district even as accident rate is climbing rapidly.
The Kozhikode Regional Transport Office alone owes about Rs.1.5 lakh in dues to pumps for diesel supplied to its enforcement vehicles in the past three months.
Deputy Transport Commissioner-in charge, northern regions, Rajeev Puthalath said the problem was that the number of enforcement squads had increased over the years, but with no fuel supply to match.
“Besides other vehicles used for enforcement purposes, now every district and its sub-offices have two enforcement vehicles at their disposal. This is because accident rates have gone up and enforcement has to be made sharper,” Mr. Puthalath said.
Statistics with the Kozhikode City Police agree with Mr. Puthalath’s version that the number of instances of road accidents have steadily increased.
In 2012 alone, there were 174 deaths in 166 road accidents in the city. This is a marked increase from the 150 deaths which occurred in 141 accidents in 2011.
Enforcements squads play a vital role in curbing traffic violations such as over-speeding and drunk driving, and can hardly remain mute spectators due to lack of fuel, senior department officials said.
Last year, 894 two-wheelers, 354 cars, 292 private buses, and 166 autorickshaws topped the list of vehicles involved in road accidents in the city, Kozhikode police records show.
This is when the MVD’s enforcement mechanism in the entire northern region is already at a disadvantage with the lapse of Rs.5.5 crore set aside for 10 interceptor vehicles.
As of now, just one interceptor, launched way back in 2008, is shared among the districts in north Kerala.
When contacted, C. Mary, senior finance officer, State Transport Commissionerate, agrees there is an acute shortage in diesel funds for Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in the northern regions of the State, especially Kozhikode and Kannur.
“However, we have decided to distribute Rs.7.27 lakh among the various RTOs to pay their fuel dues. We plan to disburse at least Rs.40,000 to RTOs in Kozhikode and Kannur offices as of now,” she said.
“So far we have not received any funds. May be something will come our way with the budget year starting,” Mr. Puthalath said.