MVD struggles as driving licences pile up

50,300 applications pending in 79 RTO and Sub-RTO offices after new norms come into force

Issue of new driving licences has come to a standstill in the State following the migration to the web application Sarathi and the new norms of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

The MoRTH norms notified on March 1 — for issuing driving licences and certification of registration on laminated card without chip or smart card — have hampered the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) from issuing licences to those who have cleared the tests.

Over 50,300 driving licence applications are pending in the 18 Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) and 79 Sub-RTOs in the State as on March 18, Rajeev Puthalath, Joint Transport Commissioner and Secretary, State Transport Authority, told The Hindu.

Those who have cleared the tests are running from pillar to post for the past few weeks to get their licences. Those going abroad and requiring a driving licence for appearing for interviews for driver jobs are especially hassled. However, renewal of driving licences has not been affected as the old system is used. The learner’s licence tests and the two-part final tests are also going on despite the inability to issue the licences.

Laser-etched cards

Instead of the laminated paper card being printed and issued as driving licence from the respective RTOs and Sub-RTOs, the MVD is gearing up for centralised printing and distribution of polycarbonate laser-etched driving licences in card form with a life of 15 years.

The MVD has even started issuing new licences with a host of security features using the Sarathi software under the RTO office of Kudappanakkunnu in Thiruvananthapuram and Alappuzha and Sub-RTO at Karunagapally. QR code, hot-stamped hologram, Guilloche pattern, micro-lines, golden national emblem, and micro test with international error are the new features.

The efforts to overcome the problem by inviting tenders for issuing driving licences as per the new MoRTH norms has also not been successful though three Expressions of Interest were received. The Kerala High Court that has stayed the bidding process for the smart card has now asked the MVD to take steps to clear the pendency.

For the time being, Mr. Puthalath said, the MVD had decided to issue driving licences in laminated paper with hologram. Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran convened a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the issue and to clear the backlog.

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Printable version | May 23, 2020 4:38:56 PM |

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