City anchor: RTO under fire for ‘encouraging’ private vehicles

Barring last fiscal,Pune Regional Transport Office has been given a higher revenue target than the last,which has its major source in registration of new vehicles and compounding fee for violation of traffic rules.

Written by PRASAD JOSHI | Published: April 27, 2013 1:35:08 am

Barring last fiscal,Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) has been given a higher revenue target than the last,which has its major source in registration of new vehicles and compounding fee for violation of traffic rules.

With vehicular population of the city about to touch the whopping 25 lakh mark,civic activists have questioned the rationale behind the state government’s decision to set a higher revenue targets for Pune RTO each year (See Table).

Activists point out that this is nothing but a way to encourage private vehicles that have already jammed city roads so far.

With an addition of nearly Rs 132 crore over the last fiscal,the revenue target for Pune RTO for the current financial year (2013-14) has been set at Rs 628.94 crore. The practice of giving an increased target revenue is prevalent since the past few years,except the last fiscal (2012-13),when the target revenue remained the same as that of the corresponding period in the previous fiscal (2011-12) at Rs 496.98 crore.

Meanwhile,vehicular population in the city has shown a rapid rise with the total number of vehicles in the city reaching 24.69 lakh by March-end from what was almost half (12.24 lakh) in 2005.

“We abide by each and every policy decision of the state government and have to implement them religiously. When it comes to achieving target revenue,we follow the same principle and ensure 100 per cent target is achieved,” a senior RTO official said.

The government charges a one time tax,which amounts to 7 per cent of the cost of vehicle (cost of vehicle = actual cost of vehicle + central excise + sales tax) on purchase of new vehicles.

According to RTO authorities,registration of new vehicles nets the largest sum of total revenue. The compounding fee for violation of traffic rules,annual tax for different category of vehicles and auction of attractive numbers are some of the other revenue source for RTO.

Reacting to the issue,Harshad Abhyankar of advocacy group ‘Save Pune Traffic Movement’ said that setting any revenue target as such for public authority like RTO is fundamentally wrong. “It is accepted that the RTO cannot discourage private transport,since the demand for private vehicles is public driven. However,setting up consistently increasing revenue target can be detrimental to the growth and use of public transport,” he told Newsline on Friday.

Echoing similar views,civic activist Vivek Velankar said the government shows sympathy on public transport,but drags its feet when it comes to actual taking stringent steps to encourage it.

Yet another activist,Jugal Rathi,said the government RTO should set targets to achieve a certain level of efficiency,keeping the satisfaction of the public rather than revenue in view.

In spite of repeated attempts,no one from the RTO commissioner’s office was available for comment.

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