Mangaluru: That the RTO office is a den of brokers and corrupt officials is a well known secret. The harassment to the ordinary citizen who goes directly for his/her work is a way to convey to them the signal that they better approach through a broker or else! I had been to the RTOs office for the renewal of my driving license which was to expire on the 5th February,2016. I was asked to submit the required forms along with a payment of Rs.250 and an envelope with 17 rupee stamps. After the needed was submitted I had to go in for verification before a photo with finger prints would be taken. At the time of verification of the documents I was asked as to why the envelop with stamps was not enclosed. I told them that I would be coming personally to collect my driving license when it would be ready. When queried as to when that would be I was told that it would take a minimum of 30 days.
That raised a question as to why it should take that long and the relevance of the stamped envelop. When I probed the matter in detail, the modus operandi came to light. The applicant would submit the documents along with the stamped envelop. But, the license would not be posted to the address- the reason ostensibly being that there is a shortage of staff. So, the anxious applicant would naturally go to the office enquiring about the fate of the application. The concerned would look through the pile, fish out the license and hand it over to the applicant who overwhelmed by the joy of getting his desired document would scoot away clutching it anxiously! In that joy the stamped envelop would be conveniently forgotten and the same would be recycled through the nearby shop which would specialize in selling the needs of the applicants for documents of the RTO. In fact, there are shops selling the forms,envelops, medical certificates and what have you next to the RTO office who are hand in glove with the employees.
In order to get the information about the fate of applications submitted for renewal of licenses I had submitted an inquiry under the RTI with the payment and the reply has not been received to date though several weeks have passed by. In the meanwhile when I had posted this on my facebook time line, I was advised by a friend as to why I wanted to undergo all this trouble because he informed me that a payment of Rs.800 to a broker would ensure that the license would be made immediately and delivered to me in person. I was also told that the brokers and the driving school owners have the run of the place at the RTO office and get anything done in minutes! I was also informed that they also have a marking system by which they can identify the broker through whom the applicant has approached and then the ill gotten gains are shared.
I had been looking for some clinching evidence for the recycling of stamped self addressed envelops of the RTOs office and got it just yesterday. Here is one which has gone such recycling twice and then posted! Since it has the handwriting of the person who has addressed it and the document number it can be traced to the person who has done that last. If the paper on the top is removed the addresses below can be seen.
I would like the explanation from the RTO and the district administration for this. Though the amounts involved seem to be peanuts compared to the huge sums they would be making through the brokers, here is the evidence and accountability has to be fixed as to how stamped envelops submitted at the RTOs office find their way to a nearby shop where they are resold after pasting a new paper on them.