Maharashtra transport dept issues SOP for registration of vehicles from other states

Source : PTI | In light of instances of numerous vehicles from different states bearing fake engine and chassis numbers registered in Maharashtra, the state transport department has set a standard operating process (SOP) for vehicles being transferred from other states, an official said on Sunday. The department issued a directive recently after it came to light that several trucks and buses from Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and other places operating with fake chassis and engine numbers had re-registered at regional transport offices (RTOs) in the state, the official said.

Talking to PTI, state transport commissioner Vivek Bhimanwar said, “Earlier, there was no set procedure for registration of vehicles from other states, and at RTOs, clerks would make entries of transferred vehicles on the Vahan portal and senior clerks would approve it.”

The department first identified the “systemic flaws” in the registration process of vehicles from other states and then took the step to rectify and tighten it.

As per the directive, every RTO will have to keep a separate register to maintain details of vehicles transferred to their office from other states.

The concerned staff, motor vehicle inspectors and assistant regional transport officers or deputy regional transport officers will have to sign in the register after the entry, inspection, and final approval of the vehicle respectively, it was stated. Prior approvals need to be taken from deputy RTO officers before making entries or creating digital records of any vehicle getting transferred in their jurisdiction, if its details are unavailable on the Vahan portal.

Inspection reports of motor vehicle inspectors are also mandatory, the directive stated.

If the vehicle details are available on the Vahan portal, the final approval for registration will be given through the RTO officer or deputy RTO officers.

A senior RTO official said that the steps taken will be effective in curbing bogus registration of vehicles from other states.

If any vehicle is not in the Vahan portal, confirmation will be sought from the concerned states and there will be coordination between RTO staff, motor vehicle inspectors and officials above ARTO rank.

According to officials, Maharashtra has more than 50 RTOs, and trucks and buses with bogus chassis and engine numbers from other states were registered at several offices in the state, in the past few years, but their exact number was unavailable.

The state transport department recently found fake engine and chassis numbers on 34 buses and 26 trucks from Arunachal Pradesh that were re-registered at the Vasai RTO, which has jurisdiction over the entire Palghar district, in the past three years.

The Vasai RTO got the vehicle records verified through the authorised dealers of the respective automobile manufacturers and registered a police case in December last year.

It also wrote to other RTOs in the state, stressing the need to track these vehicles.

The Vashi RTO, which covers a major part of Navi Mumbai, had filed a similar case concerning six Arunachal Pradesh-registered buses.

According to transport officials, in most cases, vehicles are transferred to Maharashtra from other states after purchase, sale or a change in the owner’s address.

These vehicles might have been transferred out of the northeastern state to evade taxes or escape other compliance issues, they said.

Bhimanwar said it is observed that in cases where vehicles are re-registered in Maharashtra from Telangana, where the Vahan portal is not used, no record of vehicle homologation data is available.

A couple of first information reports (FIRs) have been registered for these violations and a departmental probe is underway, the official said.