March 6: Driving licence tests will soon be held under the gaze of CCTV cameras and the footage will be stored so the test a driver has undergone can be reviewed after an accident.
"If it appears that a motor vehicle inspector has erred while clearing a driving licence applicant, we will take necessary action against the official," transport minister Suvendu Adhikari said. "The CCTV images will be stored so that they can be recalled and checked."
The footage of vehicles undergoing fitness tests will be stored, too.
In most regional transport offices (RTOs) around Calcutta and its adjoining areas, driving tests have been reduced to a farce with motor vehicle inspectors hardly finding the time to test the driving skills of an applicant.
At the Barrackpore RTO, for instance, an inspector has to evaluate the driving skills of as many as 23 candidates in an hour. That works out to less than three minutes per candidate.
The scene is no better at the public vehicles department offices in Beltala, Kasba and Salt Lake, and the regional transport offices in Alipore and Barasat.
The shocker of a revelation came in July 2016 when Adhikari learnt that of the 2,430-odd candidates who had applied for a driving licence till May 16, 2016, in Burdwan district, "only 25 were rejected".
'This has to stop," Adhikari said. "For fitness tests it appears there are dedicated shops around testing centres from where vehicle owners can hire new tyres and suspensions. Once the test is over, the items are returned and the old ones re-fitted."
The government will run 10 AC minibuses on two routes - between Joka and central Calcutta, and between the airport and the heart of the city. Officials said five buses would ply on each route.