Bhubaneswar: In a major development, the Orissa High Court has upheld the order of State Transport Authority (STA) prohibiting entry and eliminating the access of middlemen/agents to RTO premises for a people-friendly atmosphere in Regional Transport Offices.
In order to free the RTOs from the influence of middlemen or agents, the State Transport Commissioner last year had issued instructions to all RTOs to seek assistance of local police. The temporary structures/ gumtis erected near the RTO offices were removed. Police department arrested more than 150 middlemen or agents still causing disturbances in the RTOs.
The middlemen or agents had also filed a writ petition in the HC challenging the orders of the Transport Commissioner to prohibit their entry into RTO offices. The HC, however, dismissed the writ petition on September 9, 2020 and upheld the order of the Transport Commissioner.
STA has taken various steps to improve the user experience through online system and dispensing physical visits of the applicants. The applicants of DL/LL can apply online, pay the fee online, book the slot online and after passing the test, can download the LL instantly. Similarly, the vehicle owners can apply for permits online, pay all the taxes online without visiting the RTO offices. The applicants can also apply for different online services through common service centres paying the user charge fixed by the government.
The Transport Commissioner noted that a number of agent/middlemen operating and harassing the public for various services, which is why many RTOs do not have people-friendly ambience and easy access to various services. The entry of agents/middlemen was banned at the Regional Transport Offices testing centres under their control. Any agent/middle man entering in the above office premises, FIR should be lodged against them in the Police Station under section 188 IPC for violating the order, the Commissioner mentioned in his letter to the RTOs.
The Transport Commission further instructed the RTOs to carry out necessary steps in this regard. A notice should be displayed prohibiting agents/middlemen to enter the office premises, testing tracks. In case any agent/ middleman is found loitering outside the premises, local police should be informed for necessary action. All the gumutis / temporary huts erected inside the office premises or on the side of boundary wall on government land needs to be dismantled with the help of the local authority.
The RTOs were also instructed to provide ID cards of different colours to all the personnel working in RT offices - Blue band for government employees, Green band for employees engaged by the service provider and Yellow band for Employees of Smart Chip Ltd.
If required, the RTOs may deploy volunteers to provide assistance to the public and ensure that CCTV is installed inside the office and premises if not installed.