Shortage of vehicle inspectors crippling RTOs

About 300 posts of transport inspectors are vacant, limiting drives to check vehicles that flout rules. DH FILE PHOTO

The recent crackdown on vehicles running with fake registration numbers highlights the staff crunch that has limited the transport department’s role in regulating the mobility sector. 

Earlier this month, senior RTO inspector Rajanna and his team seized a Mercedes-Benz that had been on the roads unregistered for the past seven years. The SUV’s estimated price is Rs 70 lakh and senior officials were stumped to discover that the owner, Raju K Gowda, had skipped the registration altogether. 

“He just copied the number of a similar car registered in the city. We are checking the cost of the vehicle when it was sold. If it costs Rs 70 lakh as we estimated, the owner owes the department nearly Rs 20 lakh, including the registration fee, interest and penalty,” Additional Commissioner for Transport J Gnanendra said. 

The raid was followed by another bust in Yelahanka on November 22. Gnanendra, who led the team, said Devanahalli resident Anjinappa had stolen the registration number (KA 01/MH 5162) of a car belonging to one Ravi S Megharaj. 

“We did some checks and found Anjinappa evaded Rs 2.25 lakh in tax. The cars have been seized in both cases. We will intensify checks to nab such offenders,” he said. 

To a question, Gnanendra said regional transport offices (RTOs) across Karnataka had serious staff shortage that limits the role they can play in curbing violations of the Motor Vehicles Act. 

“Around 300 posts of inspectors are vacant, limiting our work to some corners. Once these positions are filled, we can scale up the inspection drives to ensure people follow the rules,” he said.

Districts worse

The situation in districts is worse than Bengaluru, a senior official said. “While Bengaluru needs more inspectors because of the high vehicle population, RTOs in several districts are also crippled because of a shortage of staff. For instance, the RTO in Chikkamagaluru does not have an inspector. The inspector from Chitradurga goes there once in a week to clear the pending works,” a senior official said. 

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