The Punjab government may be contemplating scrapping the transport department and handing over its duties to the state police. If the sources in the government are to be believed, around four meetings have already been held to discuss the idea as Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has reportedly shown interest in the proposal.
Sources said such models are in practice in various western countries and have been working successfully. The Punjab Police already possesses a traffic wing, which enforces traffic norms and checks for violations including drink driving and wrong parking, among others.
The state transport department, on the other hand, oversees the issuance of driving licenses, registration of vehicles, issuance of permits to various commercial vehicles. It also checks for violations.
Under the transport department, district transport officers and regional transport authorities are appointed at the districts and regional levels. They are mostly IAS and PCS officers.
A senior transport department officer in Chandigarh said the government is now looking at handing over these tasks to the police by either extending the traffic wing or creating another wing within the force.
Sources said that the government hopes that the move will free up bureaucrats, who can then be utilised for other administrative work as Punjab has been grappling with a huge shortage of civil servants.
“There is nothing on the ground as of now. The idea was floated and is being discussed,” said another senior officer.
Transport Minister Ajit Singh Kohar also reiterated that just a few discussions had taken place regarding the proposal.