Wednesday, April 29, 2009

RTO ‘permits’ racket

RTO ‘permits’ racket

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The latest racket in the transport department involves transferring of autorickshaw permits for a price to unauthorised claimants, alleges an activist, referring to two contradictory orders issued by the department within a span of four months to support his case.
The activist, Samiulla, who learnt of the two notifications under the RTI Act, says that while the first restricted the transfer of auto permits, the second put the earlier notification on hold, in effect allowing the transfer of auto permits.

“Nearly 2,500 auto permits were transferred in this manner in violation of the Central Motor Vehicle Act and without the knowledge and consent of the original auto permit holders,” he alleges.

The first notification was issued by the transport department in July, 2005 cancelling the transfer of permits saying it had come to its notice that a large number of permits issued by RTO offices were being transferred without the knowledge of the auto drivers concerned.

This notification was withdrawn in November 2005 although autos fall in the “motor cabs” category and are governed by the Central Motor Vehicle Act which does not allow transfer of auto permits to anyone other than family members like spouses and children. The permits need to be surrendered to the RTO if they cannot be transferred, he said.

The modus operandi of those involved in the racket is simple, according to him.

“As the original documents of auto permits are with financiers, when auto drivers fail to pay their EMIs their vehicles are seized. Later, their permits are sold for a price without their knowledge,” he claims.

“Permits are being transferred or sold to favour vehicle dealers and financiers and not poor auto drivers. RTO authorities have been creating an artificial scarcity of auto permits to create a demand for them,” he alleges.

Transport commissioner Bhaskar Rao, when contacted, said permits could not be transferred without the knowledge of those who held them.

“Usually, the transfer is done in the presence of the buyers and sellers. If permits are sold without the knowledge of the owners this should be brought to our notice. The records will be examined and action will be taken,” he promised.


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