Middlemen back at Sambalpur RTO – OrissaPOST

Sambalpur: After a brief lull, middlemen have again infiltrated into the regional transport office (RTO) here. They are allegedly influencing the work process for their petty gains and fleecing people visiting the office.
Reports said they are allegedly making a deal during the verification of heavy and light commercial vehicles and demanding anything between Rs500-100 from the vehicle owners despite payment of prescribed fee and processing charge through online mode.  They are carrying on with their work with impunity despite the presence of private security personnel and police.
The district administration and police raided the government offices as per a state government plan to free the offices of middlemen. The raid was first started in the RTO office where middlemen used to influence every sphere of work in providing necessary certificates to the vehicle owners visiting the office.
The middlemen went in hiding after the police raid but have again made their presence felt in the RTO office after the raids stopped.  These middlemen visiting the office are well dressed and flamboyant like a highly educated person, following which they have come to be known as VIP middlemen.
Sources said, a vehicle owner is required to deposit prescribe fee through online mode as per rules but the middlemen allegedly demand payment during verification of papers. A vehicle owner alleged that the middlemen are making a deal during verification of fitness of light and heavy commercial vehicles. He, however, chose to remain silent fearing that his application for fitness certificate for his vehicle might get rejected.
He said that he had deposited the fee and the processing charge for a fitness certificate for his vehicle in online mode. However, the middlemen demanded money from them during vehicle verification on various pretexts. He is not the lone person but many vehicle owners like him choose to remain silent fearing that their application for fitness certificate may get rejected if they do not heed to their demands.
Many ad hoc employees have been appointed in the RTO office apart from the regular staff. However, they do not put on any identity card for which it becomes difficult to distinguish an ad hoc employee and a middleman. As a result people end up getting fleeced by middlemen.
When contacted, Pramod Sahu, motor vehicle inspector-cum-regional transport officer (in-charge) ruled out the presence of any outsider or middleman in office premises but assured to make use of identity cards making it compulsory for all category of employees.
He said all the posts in the office have been filled up and rejected the allegations of money being demanded for issuance of fitness certificates. He however, assured to direct legal action if any allegation is found to be true.
SP Batula Gangadhar said many middlemen have been arrested before and action will be taken if any person is found working as a middleman.
PNN
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