The bus stop in front of the Road Transport Authority (RTA) in Khairatabad intended to be used by transit passengers, has now become an adda for middlemen/brokers. These brokers sit at the bus shelter where a host of people queue up with forms waiting to be filled. The passengers, unable to find space, stand outside the shelter, thus putting themselves at risk of being run over by speeding vehicles.
The brokers are a dominating lot and although they are illegal, they roam the office with an aura of authority and charge anywhere between Rs 1000 to Rs 5000 including the prescribed RTA fee to get the job done. When asked why they quote such high prices, Mohammed Moinuddin, an agent, said, “Sir, Rs 300 is what we are left with after the entire process is completed. The rest of the money is distributed to the middlemen including RTA officials and the constables guarding the premises.”
Don’t the senior officials oppose this illegal business going on right under their noses? “No, since they know what is happening and it’s an open secret,” he said.
These agents are ‘friends’ with RTA officials who can get your license, RC or just about anything in a jiffy.
For instance, when this correspondent approached an agent under the pretext of applying for a learner’s and permanent license, he was assured that he would get them in a week’s time — that too without appearing for the test. All this for a cost of Rs 4,500.
Ironically, had someone chosen to go the traditional way, they would have had to only pay Rs 60 for a learner’s license and Rs 200 for a permanent license and RC.
With the RTA straining under a tremendous load, agents thrive. The Hyderabad RTA offices receive 1,200 applications everyday. The Khairatabad office alone receives around 700 applications for licenses and 250 for RCs.
There are only 200 employees catering to this demand. It invariably leads to delays and serpentine queues.
The waiting period at the RTA office is also quite long, with each procedure taking a minimum of one hour to complete. Also the cut-off marks for the driving test have been increased to 16 and ever since the number of applicants failing the test has increased by 15 per cent. Fearing this failure most people approach agents.
The Additional Transport commissioner, Pandu Ranga Rao however, says, “There is absolutely no way that a candidate can get a driving license without appearing for a test. What these agents or middlemen claim is bogus. It is pointless approaching these agents.”