Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: As part of the ongoing efforts to make the offices of the Regional Transport Officers (RTOs) free from corruption and middlemen, several unauthorised shops set up by middlemen near the Bhubaneswar RTO-1 campus were demolished today.

In a joint drive launched by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), around 40 structures in the form of kiosks and temporary huts which had come up illegally at RTO-1 complex were demolished.

The eviction comes just two days after Odisha government issued direction to ban the entry of middlemen at RTOs across the State. In a letter to all RTOs, the State Transport Commissioner directed them to take strict measures to eliminate influence of agents/middlemen and create a people-friendly atmosphere in offices.

Strict instructions were ordered for lodging FIRs against agents/middlemen who try to enter RTO offices and testing centres. Similarly, directions were also issued to demolish all the temporary structures like cabins/huts put up by brokers inside and along the boundary of the RTO offices.

It is pertinent to mention here that following the implementation of the new Motor Vehicles Act from September 1, unprecedented rush was seen at various RTOs across the State. The mad rush at RTOs provided an opportunity for the middlemen to cash in on the situation. Moreover, a lot of people were charged 5 to 7 times more than the govt- prescribed fees by such agents.

The exploitation by middlemen was also highlighted by OTV in an exclusive report which subsequently prompted Odisha government to launch a state-wide crackdown on middlemen at RTOs.