Plan to 'isolate' transport tout

What is promised

By Our Special Correspondent in Alipore
  • Published 3.01.18

Alipore: Transport offices in Bengal will soon have display boards with detailed information on various services so that citizens know the processes and how long these should take, be it a vehicle registration or renewal of a driving licence.

Procedural details include the types of forms to be filled and the fee that an applicant needs to pay for a particular service. The information list, officially called the "Citizen's Charter", will also specify the time needed for verification of information.

"This is our effort to combine transparency with efficiency," transport minister Suvendu Adhikari said. "If you are not getting a service, inform a senior officer about it. We will take action."

The initiative includes the promise of a "help desk" each in the public vehicles department (PVD) and regional transport offices so that citizens visiting these places do not get caught in the merry-go-round of touts and officials. Employees in these offices would be required to wear their identity cards to distinguish them from touts who masquerade as officials, the minister said.

Adhikari was speaking at an event in Alipore where identity cards were distributed among members of the staff at the regional transport and public vehicles department offices.

"An identity card will make a government employee accountable," transport secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said.

Transport offices have been a happy hunting ground for touts operating in collusion with a section of employees. In September 2013, the state government had split the jurisdiction of the PVD by setting up an office each in Kasba and Salt Lake. A week ago, another PVD office was opened in Behala, ostensibly to reduce the burden on the regional transport office in Alipore that had covered almost the entire South 24-Parganas.

The touts are now spread across offices, sources said.

Changing the registration of a vehicle brought from any other state usually requires close to a month, if the process is seamless. Touts allegedly get this done in a week and a half for a fee of anything between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000.