On the 15th of September 2023, more than 10,000 drivers in Pune have found themselves entangled in a bureaucratic predicament as they patiently await their vehicle licenses from the Regional Transport Office (RTO). Simultaneously, the city's traffic law enforcement officers are rigorously enforcing penalties on drivers lacking the necessary vehicle licenses or vehicle Registration Certificates (RCs). As this backlog persists, drivers are confronted with the perplexing challenge of how to lawfully navigate the city's roadways.
The genesis of this ordeal traces back to the transport department's contract for vehicle licenses and RC smart cards, initially awarded to Rosmarta but subsequently terminated after a brief tenure. Responsibility for this task has now been transferred to the Manipal Technology Company, located in Karnataka. Although the issuance of smart cards commenced in September, licenses and RCs generated between May 20th and August 20th remain pending, significantly impacting a substantial number of motorists in the region.
Growing exasperation over the delay has prompted officials representing the city's driving school associations to beseech the RTO administration to expedite the process and alleviate the mounting anxieties of drivers.
Vitthal Mehta, the Vice President of the Maharashtra State Motor Driving School Owners Association in Pune, conveyed the gravity of the situation, stating, "Since May 20th, thousands of drivers have been left without their licenses. The responsible company has yet to commence the printing of the accumulated backlog of smart cards. Meanwhile, law enforcement is taking punitive measures."
Raju Ghatole, President of the Motor Driving School Association in Pune, underscored the dire consequences of RTO's inefficiencies, declaring, "Drivers are bearing the brunt of RTO's poor management. The traffic police should not be expected to penalize individuals who can provide a receipt or digital license in the Digilocker."
Responding to the surging concerns, Vijayakumar Magar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), reassured drivers that traffic police would be instructed not to impose penalties on individuals who have not yet received their licenses or RC smart cards from the RTO.
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