Mohammad Israil, a BPL card holder, had been working as a truck driver to support a family of ten for the last 15 years. The 47-year-old has been rendered jobless since April last year after the Road Transport Authority, Nuh, did not renew his Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMV) driving licence.
A resident of Ferozepur Namak, Israil said that he procured the licence from Gurugram RTA in 2005 and got it duly renewed all these years. He had deposited the licence renewal fee of ₹1,780, but has been facing problem in renewing it.
Tired of running from pillar to post, Israil has now decided to sit on an indefinite dharna called by the Mewat Vikas Sabha, a social organisation, over the non-renewal of the HMV driving licences, along with the other drivers from the area.
Jakir Hussain, a resident of Machhroli village, has been visiting the RTA office in Nuh after his HMV licence got expired on January 7 this year. “The HMV licence needs to be renewed every three years. I got my licence renewed four times from Gurugram and two times from Nuh after it became a district. But now the authorities are creating a problem,” said Hussain. He claimed that he had procured his licence from Gurugram RTA in 2000.
Salaheri resident Sahun, another driver on the dharna , said the middlemen in Gurugram assured to get their licences renewed from Gurugram RTA, but were asking for a bribe of ₹25,000-30,000. “I am a poor man. I cannot afford to pay so much. But many have paid after their licences could not be renewed in Nuh. Some have even got their licences renewed from other States,” said Sahun.
30,000 licences pending
All India Mewati Samaj president Ramzan Chaudhary said as per estimates, around 30,000 licences could be pending before the Nuh RTA over the last two years affecting the livelihood of the people. “Nuh being one of the most backward districts in the country, the literacy rate is very low here. A majority of the population depends on agriculture and takes up driving as a profession to earn their livelihood. The non-renewal of licences has resulted in financial crisis for thousands of families,” said Mr. Chaudhary, who was the former president of Mewat Vikas Sabha.
Mr. Chaudhary said that if the people had fallen prey to middlemen in procuring licences without meeting the conditions, the authorities should now work out some solution. “Most of these people are illiterate. But are expert drivers. The government authorities can test their driving capabilities and issue them fresh licences by giving them some concession in minimum educational qualification,” he suggested.
Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Secretary, RTA, Nuh,Vikram Singh, told The Hindu that most of these drivers had procured the licences from Agra through illegal means and without meeting the conditions. “To be eligible for HMV licence as per the present day conditions, one must hold a Light Motor Vehicle licence at least for a year, besides having studied up to Class VIII and completed a month’s training. The condition of LMV licence existed when they procured licences, but most of them do not have LMV licence. I have written to the headquarters in this connection seeking further clarification,” said the officer.
A spokesperson of Minister Rao Inderjit Singh said that the Minister had verbally raised the issue with Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari in a meeting recently and the latter had assured to speak to Haryana government in this regard.