54 percent vehicles playing without permits in J&K on national, state routes


Syed Junaid Hashmi

JAMMU, Oct 21:  54 percent vehicles, other than Goods carriages in Jammu and Kashmir are plying without valid All India or All Jammu and Kashmir permits.

Owners have not renewed their permits and some are plying without valid permits since the last more than 20 years. And what compounds this mess is non-availability of the details on the VAHAN website of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) in respect of National/ All India/ All J&K State route permits issued by the Transport Commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir as of March 2018 when CAG was conducting the performance audit of J&K transport department.

In its audit report for the year 2018, CAG has pointedly said that out of 1,795 All India/ All J&K route permits of vehicles other than Goods carriages allotted (upto March 2018) by Transport Commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir, 974 permits have not been renewed for periods ranging between one to 7,403 days (20 years). Audit said that non-renewal of these permits resulted in non-recovery of renewal fee/ additional fee of Rs. 25.2316 lakh.

CAG said that there is a risk that these vehicles might be plying without the valid permits. CAG went for a test check at toll post set-up by state excise department at Lakhanpur (Abolished now) and found out that in the month of March 2018; 33 such vehicles had crossed the borders of the state without renewing their permits. “These vehicles were running. This means transport department has failed to devise any control mechanism to check crossing of state borders/ plying on all Jammu and Kashmir routes, by such vehicles without the valid permits,” CAG told office of Transport commissioner.

Transport Commissioner responded to this observation of CAG, 6 months later in October 2018 and claimed to have issued notices to all such permit holders to acquire renewal. And it was after intervention of CAG that transport department further claimed to have constituted checking squads to organize special drive against defaulters who have not renewed their route permits. CAG has bluntly said that office of transport commissioner was not doing the job assigned to it.

Not only the office of transport commissioner defaulted in renewing permits but even the Regional Transport Officers (RTOs) and Assistant Regional Transport Officers (ARTOs) allowed vehicles to ply without valid district route permits. CAG checked permit reports in respect of 1018 selected RTOs/ ARTOs (as on 24 January 2018) generated from VAHAN and manual records maintained by ARTO Leh, showed that district route permits of 6,619 vehicles had not been renewed for periods ranging between 1 and 6,508 days (18 years).

Revenue that was not realized works out to Rs. 2.60 crore (permit fee and fine). An analysis of VAHAN reports further revealed that out of 5,84320 vehicles (excluding 776 vehicles of Leh) that had not renewed permits, 3,175 such vehicle owners had paid MVT once or multiple times in 6,347 instances during the same period. CAG pointed out that these vehicles were plying on roads without valid permits and the offices of RTO and ARTO both knew about this.

CAG said that after January 2018 no such report with complete details of vehicles, permit and their validity could be generated from VAHAN due to change of format as new format generates only summary of vehicles. When the concerned RTOs/ ARTOs were asked by CAG to explain their position, they stated that action would be taken jointly with the help of sister organisations for renewal of permits and recover the amount.

Transport Commissioner told the CAG in October 2018 that RTOs/ ARTOs shall be directed to issue notices to the concerned defaulters through print media to get the permits of their vehicles renewed along with fine. However, CAG said that the same assurance was given by the transport department during an earlier audit in March 2013 but no concrete steps were taken to address the situation.




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