Demanding the Transport Department to immediately fill Motor Vehicle Inspectors (MVI) posts in all the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) and also to withdraw the order restricting issuance of licences only for two days in a week to applicants through driving schools and among others, the members of the Tamil Nadu Driving School Owners’ Association commenced an indefinite strike across the State from Monday.
The State general secretary of the association, Vaigai Kumar, said there were 2,500 registered driving schools in the State. On an average 20 to 40 driving schools and sometimes even more function in each RTO’s jurisdiction. The instructors in these schools teach students for a stipulated period and later enable them to undergo the tests conducted by the Transport Department officials. After undergoing the exam, the successful students receive their driving licences for different category of vehicles.
Presently, five days in a week, the MVIs conduct the tests for applicants from the respective driving schools. However, due to shortage of MVIs, the Department had in an order issued to all its RTOs, instructed them to conduct driving tests only for two days in a week (for those applying through driving schools) and issue licence for general public for the next three days.
“At a time, when driving schools impart training to several thousands of students for different categories of vehicles and help them in getting the licences, such reduction on the number of days from five to two would only inconvenience the students”, Mr. Vaigai Kumar said and added that the government should instead fill vacancies immediately and also withdraw the order as it was anti-public.
He claimed that in neighbouring Kerala, which has a relatively less population when compared with T.N., the Transport Department there had more number of Inspectors. Hence, the TN government should take pro-active steps immediately and until then, the driving schools in Tamil Nadu would strike work, he added.
A senior official in the Transport Department in Chennai told The Hindu that there were 140 MV Inspectors in the RTOs in the State. Admitting that 40 % vacancies were to be filled up, he said that the department was taking steps. Asked about the order restricting the number of days from five to two for issuance of driving licence through the driving schools, he said it was done temporarily due to some technical glitch in the system.