BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh Transport Department cannot shirk its responsibility for the bus tragedy in Shardapatan village, Sidhi.
The department is at fault, because but for earning money through underhand dealings, the department hardly pays attention to anything else. Agents are ruling the roost in all regional transport offices (RTOs) across the state. It is the agents who get every work done in those offices.
Though the state government has stopped the system of agents, the middlemen are running the RTOs. One can get anything done by greasing the palms of the agents through whom fitness of a bus is checked.
Therefore, they give fitness certificate to those buses that are unfit to run. Agents are seen round the clock outside the RTOs.
As nobody in RTO office pays any attention to common man, all the work is being done through the middlemen. The work related to driving licence, registration of a vehicle and other things are done through agents.
Because the transport department remains busy in extortion, such tragedies as happened in Sidhi generally occur. Neither the transport minister nor the commissioner has inspected the RTOs for long time.
The transport minister and the officials only pay attention to transport check posts, the real source of underhand dealings.
The 94% of revenue collected by the transport department is received from the RTOs, and 6% of it comes from the transport checkpoints.
Despite that, everyone pays attention to the check posts that supply only 6% of the revenue to the department.
The reason for paying attention to the checkpoints is that a huge amount of dough is received from there. Hired men called cutters deployed at check posts extort money from vehicle owners. Road transport inspectors, transport sub-inspectors and transport head constables are posted to those check posts. Their job is to check the fitness of those vehicles which pass by the checkpoints. These officials are, however, hardly seen on duty. Through those cutters, money is collected for political parties.
Gadkari scrapped checkpoints, but began in 2018
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has always been angry with the state government for extortions at the checkpoints. It was because of Gadkari that the transport check posts were closed in 2016. In 2018, however, those checkpoints restarted.
The transport department only pays attention to extortion and posting of officials there. As a result of that, the department barely pays any attention to other work.
Besides that, the officials of the department have steeped their hands in gravy by handing over the registration process of vehicles to dealers.
Anything under the sun is possible in the transport department.