Calcutta, April 4: The Bengal government has turned down the Centre’s proposal to privatise the motor vehicles department by engaging private parties in different activities, including issuing certificates of fitness to commercial vehicles and driving licences.
Rejecting summarily Delhi’s proposal, transport minister Subhas Chakraborty said the state government would not privatise a vital sector like transport administration.
After the proposal from the Union surface transport ministry reached Writers’ Buildings last month, Chakraborty, along with senior department officers, met officials of the Union surface transport ministry in Delhi last week and conveyed to them the state government’s stand on the proposal.
According to the Centre’s proposal, private parties with expertise in automobiles will be engaged in the city and districts. These parties will be empowered to issue fitness certificates for commercial vehicles and also driving licences. They will follow guidelines framed by the Union ministry while issuing the certificates and driving licences. The state transport department will monitor their activities and provide administrative assistance.
The proposal highlights the reasons for privatising the public vehicles department, saying: “As the norms of issuing fitness certificates and driving licences will be framed by the Centre and as it will be followed by all the states, the uniformity will be maintained. Besides, engaging private parties will speed up activities in the department and reduce corruption.”
The proposal also states that the transport department need not invest any money or deploy manpower for the job. The private parties will do the job and collect charges from the vehicle owners.
Chakraborty held meetings with his department officers on the Centre’s proposals and decided to oppose it. “Issuing fitness certificates and driving licences is a very important matter and the government should have the sole right to issue them. Engaging private parties in the activities will lead to nepotism and corruption,’’ he said.