CIRT experts visit Kolkata to check toto menace
The three-member committee comprising experts from Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) on Tuesday drove totos during their visit to the state and decided to undertake a feasibility study to ascertain the possibility of converting the vehicles to e-rickshaws.
The experts visited the city after the Calcutta High Court had formed a high power committee on May 6 to check the menace of the plying of illegal totos in different parts of the state.
All three experts headed by the chief of the safety and Homologation Department of CIRT, S Satya Giri visited five different places in Howrah. They inspected several totos and even drove some of the vehicles.
Sources said that after thoroughly inspecting the totos of various models , the team of experts told the senior officials of the state transport department that all the models are not illegal. However, none of the vehicles were registered.
Moreover, they raised a question of the safety and security of passengers travelling in a toto. The reason being part of the vehicles that include tyres, lights, controller, break systems and batteries were bought from different places and assembled in any workshop to make a toto. The parts didn’t match the Indian Standard (IS) code.
Approval for registration of a particular type of vehicle is given following rigorous tests of each and every part by authorised agencies. Until and unless the vehicles are registered, the safety and security of passengers remains a cause of concern.
Thus, the experts will take up a feasibility study to ascertain whether it is possible to convert the totos to e-rickshaws.
If the feasibility study suggests that the conversion of the vehicles is possible then the experts will calculate the cost of upgrdation of each toto. The experts will also visit various places in some other parts of the state where toto had come up as a menace.
It may be mentioned that totos had come up as a problem mainly in the urban and semi-urban parts of the state apart from Kolkata. Plying of toto is restricted in the city.
On Friday, Alapan Bandyopadhyay held a video conference with Regioal Transport Officers (RTOs) from Nabanna and took a note on the present number of totos and mortised van operating in the districts and the routes on which those are plying.
At present there are around 1 lakh totos operating in the state and the state transport department had urged the CIRT to look into the matter as it is a matter of livelihood of lakhs of people.