For over a year now, the Transport Department of Andhra Pradesh has stopped issuing PVC cards for various services as it could neither clear the dues to the old supplier nor finalise terms for a new contract, leaving the vehicle users a harassed lot.
Normally, three lakh PVC cards with an electronic chip embedded are issued on an average per month in the state transport offices for new vehicles registered and driver's licenses.
That has stopped for several months now, leading to a huge pendency even as vehicle-users are caught by traffic police personnel, who have been imposing penalties unmindful of the Transport Department's inability to issue PVC cards for vehicle registration and driver licence.
Though the state government has been collecting hundreds of crores of rupees annually from vehicle users for the services, it is yet to clear the Rs 34 crore due to the card supplier, forcing the latter to stop supplies.
In fact, the ''extended agreement'' (for card supplies) with the old contractor elapsed a year ago but the government is yet to finalise the terms for a fresh tender,'' sources in the Transport Department said.
Though the government invited bids last year, there has been no response from the vendors.
The state government collects Rs 200 per card, amounting to at least Rs 72 crore per annum. Of this, Rs 53 has to be paid to the supplier per card while another Rs 25 goes towards consumables.
This apart, the government levies a transaction fee of Rs 400 on each user, IT user charge, testing fee and delivery charge. ''We net over Rs 200 crore per annum in the form of these charges,'' a senior Transport Department official said.
The contract for supply of PVC cards ended two years ago but the government extended the agreement with the same vendor, as a ''one-time measure,'' for a year as no other bidder came forward.
Even the extended contract ended a year ago but the vendor, who delivered over 38 lakh cards, was not paid Rs 34 crore.
''We have a huge pendency (of card deliveries) of over a year and more than three lakh fresh numbers are added every month. As things stand, it may take a few more months for the entire system to be restored to normalcy,'' the Transport department official added.
To tide over the problem, Transport Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) came up with a suggestion that a card-printing unit be set up in each transport office to ensure same-day delivery.
He also mooted the idea of remitting the fee to the government account in real-time after deducting the vendor's charges.
Top officials of the Transport Department welcomed the Minister's proposal as it would assure immediate payment to the vendor and ensure unhindered service delivery to the vehicle users.
The Finance Department, however, disapproved the Transport Minister's proposal and insisted that all fee collected should be directly credited into the government account in full.
When contacted, the Minister told PTI that he has now placed the proposal before the Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy for consideration as it would be a win-win for all. ''We hope this gets cleared this week and the problem sorted out,'' Nani said.