HomeNationMaharashtra: No in-charge officials for ten out of 15 RTOs

Maharashtra: No in-charge officials for ten out of 15 RTOs

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As many as ten out of the 15 Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in Maharashtra are currently without in-charge officers, a situation one former official described as “alarming”.

Further, out of 35 deputy RTOs, eleven are without in-charge officers.

In many places, junior officers have been given additional charge of these vacant posts, state Transport Department sources told PTI.

RTOs and deputy RTOs come under the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Department (MMVD) which is controlled by the Transport Commissioner’s office.

Thousands of people visit the 50 Regional Transport Offices in Maharashtra every day for work related to vehicle registration, driving licenses and vehicle permits, among other things.

The absence of in-charge officers is causing delays, resulting in significant inconvenience for the public, and also encouraging corruption, sources said.

Notably, the transport portfolio has been with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for the last ten months.

The posts of Regional Transport Officer (also abbreviated as RTO) are vacant at Andheri (Mumbai West), Wadala (Mumbai East), Panvel, Kolhapur, Nashik, Dhule, Aurangabad, Nagpur Rural, Nagpur City and Latur.

The offices at Tardeo (Mumbai Central), Thane, Pune, Amravati and Nanded have full-time in-charge officers.

Where there are vacancies, deputy RTOs are holding additional charge of the RTO post at the same office, or at the nearest regional office in the same city.

In Aurangabad, Nagpur Rural and Latur, the additional charge has been given to junior officers posted at Jalna, Gadchiroli and Osmanabad deputy RTO offices, respectively.

Similarly, at 11 of the 35 deputy RTO offices, there are no full-time in-charge officials. Hence, additional charge has been given to others.

In deputy RTO offices like Kalyan, Sindhudurg, Beed, Wardha, Hingoli and Baramati, the additional charge has been given to junior officers of the assistant regional transport officer rank, sources said.

“One can understand giving additional charge of a post to someone in the same office or same city, but in many cases the additional charge has been given to officers in other districts, posted 100 to 150 km away,” said one official.

“Can an officer do justice to both the posts if the distance is 100-150 km?” he asked, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Even at the Transport Commissioner’s office, joint transport commissioner Jitendra Patil is holding additional charge of three posts: additional transport commissioner, joint transport commissioner (road safety) and deputy transport commissioner (encroachment-II).

His office has five posts of deputy transport commissioners, and presently only one of them is filled.

Additional charge of three posts has been given to officers much junior in rank, sources said. Patil himself is holding the charge of another post.

A retired officer from the Transport Commissioner’s office, who did not wish to be named, said the MMVD used to have 10 to 15 percent vacancies earlier, but the situation has become “alarming” now as additional charge of almost 50-60 per cent top posts has been given to junior officers.

The reason for vacancies was delayed promotions, and now things are so bad that posts of additional transport commissioner, joint transport commissioner and deputy transport commissioner cannot be filled without giving additional charge to existing officers or changing the rules, he said.

The vacancies at the top level has led to increased pendency of work besides encouraging corruption and allowing agents a free rein, said another official.

A deputy RTO, who is holding additional charge of another senior post for several years, said as per the rules, an additional charge can be assigned for a maximum of six months, but in his department, he as well as many of his colleagues are holding such charge for years.

“Beyond six months, officers do not receive the stipulated additional 10 per cent pay for taking additional responsibilities,” he said.

The MMVD has over 4,100 posts, and the government has approved the creation of more than 440 new posts including five posts of joint transport commissioner.

But another retired officer pointed out that the government seems to be unable to fill up the existing posts.

“If regional transport offices can function with some officials handling additional charge, why does the department want to create more posts? It should abolish vacant posts,” he said.

When contacted for comment, transport commissioner Vivek Bhimanwar said the issue is related to the state government, and the necessary process is going on at the government level.

Transport secretary Parag Jain-Nainutia told PTI that a meeting has been called on Thursday to discuss the issue, and also the transport commissioner has been asked to take some steps at his level to address the situation.

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