Vahaan yet to take off in J&K, courtesy vested interests

SRINAGAR: In a bid to retain the powers in the district offices, the Regional Transport Authority is violating the new systems notified already. Partial implementation of the order has created a situation that RTOs have added yet another window to the maze of registration, this time at the cost of the dealers.

Centre and the state government had agreed and announced transferring the power of registering all the non-commercial vehicles to the authorized dealers. A pan-India portal Vahaan is already in place. It permits the authorized dealers to register the ownership, at the moment of the sale of vehicles. The idea is to prevent customers from losing time and resources in the long registration process.

The government has already issued an order as early as August 22, 2017. However, the order is partially implemented.

“We have been given the authority to collect the registration fees, submit it to the RTO along with all the mandatory documents,” one small dealer, who is into two-wheelers, said. “Then, it depends on the RTO officials about the time and the process they will take for issuing the registration documents.”

Another dealer, also into small business, said they are supposed to have one person especially for this exercise in all districts which makes their operations costly, and in certain cases, loss-making.

Interestingly, the RTOs are still retaining the physical inspection of the sold fresh vehicles despite the fact that it has been officially abandoned on papers. “This is being done to retain powers that will make people rich,” one dealer said. “What is the logic for inspecting a vehicle that is brand new, they could inspect the model once, if at all it is required or it can be done at the time of formal permission to a particular brand or a model.”

“We are seeking the exact fee amount from the customer for which he gets a receipt through SMS,” yet another dealer said. “But who will pay for the costs of the processing from our side and the RTO side?”

Irfan Nowshehri, the president of the Kashmir Automobile Association said the system is already in vogue in most of India. “IN Delhi, it is a decade old system that dealers issue registration papers almost the moment the sale takes place,” Irfan said. “But there are certain teething problems in Kashmir and new initiatives are usually facing sort of resistance as well.”

“The trader was supposed to be training in the process last year but somehow that did not happen but we had a training session at JamKash on October 30,” Irfan said. “Right now we have started paying fees and other processes may take some time. I am hopeful it will happen but there are delays in the process which happens in J&K because of low confidence level at various levels.”

Sources in RTO said that “some people” have actually gone against the new systems using a PIL route before the court. The process will get completed once the cases are managed in the courtroom, the source, not authorized to talk on record, said.

Trade sources said the PIL is outcome of the “vested interests” and will be fought. Even Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry is taking a strong note of the case.

Registration of vehicles is a major exercise and involves lot of efforts and resources. The new initiative is aimed at doing away with time and capital intensive traditional systems to bring some sort of transparency in the process. That is precisely why, insiders say, there is resistance.

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