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News : Regional Transport Office Helpline Dead Since September
Nagpur, India, Feb 4, 2016 -- If you are one of the several thousands passengers fleeced by auto-drivers in the city, this will only cause you aggravation. Regional Transport Office (RTO) helpline for commuter complaints has logged only 91 complaints in the last 924 days since the service was launched in August 2013. The toll-free helpline keeps going dead. This time it has been dead since September 2015.
Police stations don't entertain complaints regarding autorickshaws overcharging passengers, traffic police are not approachable either, pointed out passengers.
There is a growing anger among people being fleeced by autorickshaw drivers daily and having no complaint redressal mechanism. "The toll free helpline is a complete failure. The lines have been dead when I called it up on two occasions," said transport activist Vinay Sahare.
When TOI contacted the department, RTO D Pawar refused to speak, while a senior official admitted: "Nine out of ten people are not aware of the helpline. The toll-free number launched by the Nagpur RTO for citizens to lodge various complaints including auto rickshaw related ones have received a poor response. Only 91 calls have been made since the service was launched in August 2013. Of these, around 50 were related to autorickshaws."
The officer could not reply why the number is out of order since five months.
Rekha Chepurwar, a commuter, said she had given up on lodging complaints on the helpline. "I don't know if it actually works. I have lodged a few complaints, but there was no acknowledgement and I don't know whether any action was taken against the guilty."
Another commuter Pravin Sharma said, "We are being cheated every other day. There is no deterrent to the drivers. Ideally, officials should be posted on road or special chowkies where we can get the complaints redressed immediately. This is not the case."
Another major reason for low number of complaints, as TOI found, is that neither officials pick up calls at the helpline, nor does the service acknowledges a complaint. Many commuters claimed that though they wanted to complain to the RTO about various issues, no one picked up the phone at RTO.
If anything is worrying Nagpurians, it is erratic vehicular traffic and the attitude of autorickshaw drivers. There are regular brawls involving auto drivers. Yogesh Bansod, a resident of Shanti Nagar, said a few days back, a bus driver was badly beaten up by an autorickshaw driver in Shanti Nagar area. Most persons commuting by autorickshaws are at the receiving end of such acts by unruly auto drivers.
Auto drivers are also in the habit of charging exorbitant fares during night. While the RTO and the police administration are aware of this issue, no step has been taken in this regard by the departments concerned for decades. Commuters also complained about lack of effort to publicize the helpline number by RTO.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Regional Transport Office:
Regional Transport Office (RTO) is an Indian government bureau which is responsible for the registration of vehicles and the issue of Driver's Licences in India. Along with this, the RTO is also responsible to collect the one-time road tax during registration, check for vehicle's insurance and clear the pollution test.
Published: Friday, February 5, 2016