Days after the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) busted a racket in which some of the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) offices, Motor Vehicles Inspectors (MVI) were giving fitness certificates without verifying a vehicles and their documents, the state transport minister Laljit Singh Bhullar on Saturday appointed MVIs on 11 vacant posts to reduce the ever-increasing burden of passing and issuing fitness certificates of old vehicles in the state.
The minister said only four MVIs under 11 RTA offices are currently looking after the work of passing and issuing fitness certificates to the old vehicles in 23 districts of the state as a result of which very little could be done and files are piling up in the department.
Responding to the complaints of delays, the minister made internal arrangements by appointing staff from Punjab roadways to reduce the workload and bring more transparency. Now, all 11 dedicated MVIs will work under 11 RTA offices, an official spokesperson said.
Bhullar said apart from the previously posted MVIs, now, MVI Preetinder Arora will look after the work of district Faridkot, Sri Muktsar Sahib, Moga, Bathinda and Mansa, while MVI Sukhwinder Singh will see the work at district Fazilka and Ferozepur, MVI Merik Garg at district Ludhiana, MVI Gurinder Singh at district Jalandhar and Kapurthala, MVI Leela Singh at district Gurdaspur, MVI Madhu Pushap at district Pathankot, MVI Navdeep Singh at district Amritsar and Tarn Taran and MVI Jaspreet Singh will see the work of district Sangrur, Malerkotla and Barnala.
Emphasizing on the resolution of Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann of zero tolerance policy against corruption, the minister said any officer or employee found involved in corruption will not be spared at all, these officers should discharge their duty honestly.
During a surprise checking, the VB had detected irregularity in Sangrur district where the MVI was on average issuing 250 fitness certificates in a working day. This is despite the fact that a vehicle needs a minimum 45 minutes for physical inspection by the MVI. At this rate, it’s difficult to issue even 50 certificates in a day.
RTA officials in connivance with agents and middlemen were found blatantly issuing fitness certificates without any physical verification of vehicles in lieu of bribes ranging from Rs 2800 to Rs 1000 per vehicle depending on model of vehicle.
Similar irregularities and corruption is apparently going on in some other RTA offices in Punjab. The VB on Wednesday arrested MVI Jalandhar Naresh Kaler and a private agent Rampal along with a bribe amount of Rs 12.50 lakh besides documents pertaining to suspicious issuance of fitness certificates to vehicles.
This was after the Bureau on Tuesday conducted surprise checks at MVI offices at seven locations in the State namely Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Mansa, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur.
Revealing the modus operandi, a spokesperson of the VB said it has come to light in various districts the officials in connivance with agents and middlemen were issuing fitness certificates without any physical verification of vehicles in lieu of heavy bribes.
Official sources said the same modus operandi is being followed in the entire state. As each district is not having MVI, one MVI is holding charge of two or three districts. An official said MVIs were found to be operating through agents who do the paperwork for issuing the fitness certificates and play the role of middleman for per vehicle bribes to MVIs and RTA staff members.