Thursday, September 29, 2011

Applying for driving licence? Agent a must for smooth ride

Applying for driving licence? Agent a must for smooth ride

Correspondents relate their nightmarish experience at the Andheri RTO

You may be a staunch supporter of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement, but to get any job done at any of the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in Mumbai, you will have to see an agent. Two DNA correspondents saw for themselves the complete mess city's RTOs are in.

Be it getting a duplicate licence or learner's licence, the Andheri RTO has only one option: Catch hold of an agent and just sit in a corner. At any given point of time, there are more agents hovering around the RTO than those who need a licence. Also, there is not a single board instructing which form is needed for what and from which window can it be obtained.
When the correspondents decided to track the working of an RTO without taking any agent's help and obviously without revealing they were journalists, the experience was shocking. Andheri RTO was selected as a test case, with one of the two journalists needing a duplicate licence (a smart card) and another needing a learner's licence.
The nightmare began from the first step itself. The employee distributing the forms herself did not have an idea which form should be given. No proper space or a shaded area on the premises was provided where applicants could sit and fill the forms. And worse, basic items, such as glue and stapler needed for clipping documents and sticking photographs, were not available.
There was no mention of any checklist, which would have helped applicants know which documents need to be attached while submitting their licence applications.
While our correspondents waited mindlessly in queues, and changed from one to another, a number of seasoned people were easily jumping the queues and getting their job done. Needless to say they were all touts.

With at least 25 to 30 forms in hand, they were often seen disturbing the officials, who were letting them get their work done faster than others.
The correspondents also found that there were no facilities for handicapped people and women. There was a separate queue for women outside the window accepting applications for learner's licence, but none of the women standing in the general queue were aware of it or informed by officials.
Handicapped applicants were also standing in the same queue.

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