The West Bengal government has announced that the owners of vehicles whose fitness certificate will expire by February 28, 2023, and who will not be able to install tracking devices on the vehicles by then will be allowed temporary exemption if they state in writing that they will install the device by March 31.
A notification announcing the relief was sent to all regional transport offices late on November 30, hours before the window opened for vehicles to get fitted with tracking devices and emergency buttons for passengers on Thursday.
On November 14, the government had said that all taxis, buses, minibuses and lorries that were registered till 2018 would have to be fitted with tracking devices and panic buttons, failing which the vehicles would not be allowed to undergo the mandatory fitness test and their permits would not be renewed.
Following allegations from vehicle owners that they were unaware where to get the devices fitted, the government had on Wednesday, hours before the installation window was to open, released a list of 10 manufacturers of tracking devices.
“The new notification states that the vehicles without the tracking device will be allowed to undergo the fitness test provided the owners give an undertaking that they will get the system installed by March 31, 2023. The fitness certificate that will be issued to those vehicles will be considered provisional,” said a transport department official.
“Failure to get the system installed by the deadline will lead to suspension of the fitness certificate. The owners of those vehicles whose fitness certificate will lapse by February 28 will be entitled to the relief.”
The notification states that the suspension of the fitness certificate will be revoked “only after realisation of additional fees at Rs 50 per day from the date of issue of conditional CF (certificate of fitness)” till the installation of the tracking device and the emergency button.
Those applying for registration of vehicles and may not be in a position to get the device fitted by February will have to do so by March, the notification states.
The notification has been sent to all district magistrates, director of the transport directorate and the state transport authority, which issues permits to transport vehicles.
The late-night order comes within hours of the transport department releasing the list of 10 empanelled manufacturers of the tracking device for Bengal.
Senior transport department officials said close to 19 lakh passenger vehicles would be brought under the surveillance project.
The November 14 order had spelt out that the window to complete the installation would close on March 31.