Agents, touts minting money out of new MV Act
Rs 1000 to 3000 charged for early issuance of learner’s DL
By Donald Sairem
IMPHAL | Oct 9
Following the enforcement of new Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, which compounds penalties for traffic offences, there has been a mad rush among people to obtain driving licenses and other necessary documents including registration cards.
Hundreds of applicants seeking driving licenses throng respective district transport offices every day to obtain their driving licenses since the last month when the new amendment came into force. People were seen standing in long queues waiting for their turn to enter their biometrics information.
The sudden rise in the number of applicants resulted out of the heavy fines being imposed on offenders under the new MV Act. As the number of people seeking driving licences increased, they are also compelled to go through a tiring wait for their turn to receive driving licences as DTOs of each district have only one biometrics machine to enter the details.
Taking advantage of such a situation, few individuals in collusion with officials of district transport office (DTO) are earning easy money by allegedly charging huge amounts for issuance of the driving license much earlier than scheduled time. They act as brokers or agents between the applicants and the officials. These individuals reportedly bribe the officials to complete the processes of obtaining the licenses for their own convenience.
An investigation by the IFP in this connection revealed that the brokers or agents charge a huge amount of money ranging from Rs 1000 to Rs 3000 for obtaining learners’ driving license. The normal fee for obtaining a learner’s driving license ranges from only Rs 200 to Rs 350 depending on the specifications of the vehicles. Such as, vehicles of lightweight or heavyweight and with or without gear.
When such agents are approached on the pretext of getting driving license, one agent in Imphal East told that for the time being, he would charge Rs 1300 if the learner’s driving license is to be delivered within a week. He further said that he can facilitate the issue of smart card driving license after using the learner’s card for at least a month.
It was also learnt that the charge also fluctuates and sometimes Rs 3500 is charged from the public, who are in desperate need of the driving license.
Another agent in Thoubal district disclosed that he would charge Rs 1500 and the license will be handed over within five days. He said that all the applicant has to do is to provide the necessary documents. “The normal process including interview, where awareness of the applicant regarding traffic rules and regulations is being checked, will be skipped through this channel,” he told through phone.
On the other hand district transport officer, Imphal East, Simon Keishing claimed that he has no knowledge about the hand in glove between the so called agents and officials of the office. “I do sign the documents but the entries are done by other staff,” he said.
Meanwhile, a 27-year-old youth, who confided to this daily that he received his learner’s driving license through one agent, said that he was compelled to go through the wrong channel. “I applied in the normal process initially. However, when I sat for the interview, the interviewer asked many irrelevant questions. I failed the interview and did not get my learner’s license. When I came out of the interview, the agent approached me and informed me of the alternative channel. Later, I learnt that they work in nexus with the officials”, the youth told.
In the meantime, deputy director, transport, David Elangbam said that the people are to be blamed in such corrupt practices. For their own conveniences, they are approaching agents, who make easy money out of them. From our side, the DTOs are being directed very often to curtail such practices, David stated and added that if found, actions will be taken against those involved in the malpractice.
He also informed that the directorate has taken initiatives to provide one more biometrics machine to the DTOs to minimise the inconveniences.
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