Most function out of rented, cramped premises; none of the 11 have proper tracks
Chennai’s Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) face a severe space crunch in the absence of spacious rooms and proper testing tracks.
Most of the offices function in rented buildings and applicants and the general public have a hard time at the congested offices.
A senior motor vehicle inspector conceded that none of the 11 RTOs in the city have proper testing tracks. Most of them conduct the testing in playgrounds or other convenient locations. For instance, while Tiruvanmiyur RTO authorities organise the tests in the nearby beach, Mandaveli RTO officials too opt for a beach near Foreshore Estate.
Another official said that a few years ago, when the Mandaveli unit office was upgraded to an RTO, officials looked for space for the office. Initially, a space near the MRTS Light House station was identified. But, for reasons better known to officials it was dropped. This was followed by another attempt to fix a location near the Foreshore Estate bus terminus. That too failed and at present, the office is functioning in cramped premises on St. Mary's Road. Officials say that confusion prevailed over allocation of land by the Government and this was one of the reasons for the lack of a permanent office.
Transport department officials said a testing track is getting ready near Red Hills, which would be used by the Red Hills RTO. A proposal to upgrade the unit office at Sholinganallur has been sent to the government and it is also expected to become an RTO within six months. But merely increasing the number of RTOs will not suffice; the government should also plan for test tracks and spacious premises, said a source.
Some residents of V.C. Garden Second Street complained that sometimes, people who come for license testing and on other work park their vehicles in front of the office.
A source from the transport department said the process is on for identifying land for having testing tracks in all RTOs. “We are planning to purchase three to five acres of land near the RTOs,” said the official.