Mangaluru: Since I am now 65 years of age with my birthday fast approaching, I had to renew my driving license and as per my usual practice I do it personally.
The forms were duly filled in and a E token was handed over and I was asked to wait for my photograph to be taken. But, before that when I handed over the application for verification I was told that I had to give a stamped self addressed envelop with Rs 17 worth of stamps. When I asked why that was needed, the reply was that the license would be sent by registered post. That set my consumer activist antenna tingling.
Because, I was aware that most of the applicants prefer to collect the valuable document themselves being afraid that it would be delayed or lost in the post. But, every one had to hand over this envelop when submitting the application. I refused point blank and told them that I would not submit such a thing because, I would collect the document in person. At this the woman at the desk wrote on my application in red ink- stamped envelop not submitted.
So, after all it was not compulsory to do so, though the same had been specified on a board just behind the receptionist desk! Coming to receptionist at the desk, he was missing at around 11 am itself. After waiting for a good 15 minutes he turned up. It appeared that he had gone to do some favor for a friend/customer! When I handed over my documents he condescended to sign on the counterfoil of the receipt for the payment of the fees. When I queried him as to when the license would be ready, he refused to commit when I pointed out the board at his back which said that all who submitted documents were supposed to take an acknowledgement indicating the date when it would be ready, he asked me to go to his supervisor Hemavathi.
When I asked her she said it was the case workers duty to do that. At this point I lost my patience, raised my voice and asked what they meant by shunting me from one to the other for which she replied that the document will be ready after 30 days at least but not specifying how long it would take at the most. She also wrote the same on the acknowledgement. But, what interested me was the number of people who submit their applications with a stamped envelop and collect the license in person. If on an average two hundred were to submit applications each day and say only 10% of them are sent the document by registered post I was just wondering what happens to the stamped envelops submitted by the other 180? The amount would come to several thousands per day and I am sure that there are no accounts for the unused envelops and stamps on them! So, an RTI query has been submitted asking for the details of the same for a week in November last year.
As it is appointments in the RTOs office are the first choices for government servants as these postings are supposed to be very ‘remunerative’. It looks like this stamped envelop submission racket seems to one such though the amounts involved to be peanuts for such lucrative postings.
Looking one benignly is the photo of Ganesha which seems to be safeguarding the poor citizens who have to go to this office. Looks like one has to recourse to the supernatural to get proper services here!