After giving for motor training schools a deadline of six months to improve their infrastructure, state Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari said that stringent measures would also be taken against regional transport officers (RTOs) following service rules if licence is issued to a non-eligible person.
Adhikari was speaking at a workshop titled ‘Learning Safe Drive’ at the Science City Auditorium, organised by the state transport department for representatives of motor training schools from across the state.
The state transport department, in collaboration with IIT Kharagpur, had placed a set of recommendations that need to be followed by motor training schools to ensure that proper training is provided to would-be drivers, before they apply for a licence.
The IIT has also framed a syllabus and written a book containing guidelines for motor training schools in three different languages, Bengali, Hindi and English. The books will be given to the motor training schools in December.
Adhikari said: “Earlier at Nazrul Manch, during the launch of the ‘Safe Drive Save Life’ campaign, I had mentioned about the abnormal issuing of [driving] licence in Burdwan district. Out of 2,450 applicants, only 25 had failed. I cannot judge whether it is genuine or not.”
“But being a people’s representative, I cannot accept it. The concerned RTO was transferred and the message is quite clear that it was disciplinary action to caution others. Steps will be taken against the RTO if licence is issued to a non-eligible person.”
He further said that as per the data presented by experts from IIT Kharagpur, about 85 to 90 per cent of road accidents take place due to mistakes of drivers who are trained by motor training schools.
Thus the motor training schools, which are licensed by the state transport department, have a major role to play in bringing down number of accidents.
The schools get licence after giving an undertaking that they will comply with the central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. But in reality it is not being followed by a section of motor training schools.
“We are a pro-people government. Thus, we cannot make anyone follow norms without considering their situation. So we have decided to give them [existing motor training schools] a time of six months to develop the infrastructure as per the norms,” Adhikari said, adding that from now on RTOs will no more be giving licence to set up motor training schools.
Instead, the RTOs will forward the applications to the transport department, where a three member committee including an IIT expert will scrutinise the application and decided whether licence can be given based on the available infrastructure.
Drivers of commercial vehicles, meanwhile, will have to wear their licences like badges around their necks. Professor Bhargab Maitra of IIT Kharagpur, who is heading the team to find a better way out for the state transport department to issue driving licences, also presented the recommendations that the motor training schools have to follow. He said there should be enough space for theoretical class of at least 10 people at a time. The schools would be permitted to take number of trainee drivers as per their infrastructure.