How many youngsters who jazz up their motorcycles know that they have to take permission from the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) to even change the colour of their bikes, forget adding more horses to the engine to get that high, from what is mentioned in the registration certificate?

But it is a fact that MVD neither has the men nor the machine to hunt down such unauthorised alterations or act against those who do those alterations on demand.

Every vehicle manufactured in the country is being tested and certified by one of the five recognized agencies, including the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI). “Each and every spare is certified on meeting certain standard specifications and no vehicle owner has the right to alter it,” Ernakulam Regional Transport Officer B.J. Antony told The Hindu .

He said fancy mudguards and alterations in silencer to elicit a thunderous response as the rider throttles up were the commonly done modifications.

MVD officials said alterations don’t come on the radar unless the vehicle is involved in an accident. “The fact is that a privately owned vehicle is inspected only once at the time of registration and is again due for inspection only after 15 years on the expiry of its fitness,” a senior official said.

In some countries abroad, vehicles are inspected every year. “But that is highly impractical in a State like Kerala where MVD is reeling under severe staff shortage with just about 700 officials to keep a tab on over 70 lakh vehicles,” he said.

The official said it was not always possible to chase down youths on powerful bikes who ignore direction to pull the vehicle aside. MVD neither has vehicles to match the power of the bikes nor has wireless system to coordinate action, which is not the case in many other countries where the law enforcement agencies are given powerful machines and latest communication gadgets. For example the latest addition in Dubai Police’s garage is one of world’s most expensive powerful car Lamborghini Aventador. Of course, they are not the first to use the car for policing.

MVD officials observe that superbikes are not always the cause for speed-induced accidents. Relatively powerful modern motorcycles can touch 150 kilometer per hour, which will severely restrict the vision of the driver.

Action cannot be taken against those who do the alterations for the vehicle owners as provisions to that effect were missing in the Motor Vehicle Rules, the official said. He, however, pointed out that only a minority belonging to affluent families altered their machines and created trouble on the road, bringing disrepute to majority of young motorcycle owners.