In January this year, a lot of SUV and off-road vehicle owners in Kerala collectively wrote an open letter to the CM urging him to be lenient in the crackdown against such vehicles, reminding him of the assistance provided by the off-road enthusiast community during Kerala floods. But now, the matter has worsened and modified SUV owners are forced to list their vehicles on online used car sale platforms like OLX to recover some of all that was spent to make the vehicles more capable off-roaders.
But as it turns out, it won't be as simple as that. One - these off-road vehicle enthusiasts are forced to part ways with their cars and two - the intention to sell the vehicles to buyers in states where the crackdown against them is not this stringent will now be hindered.
Kerala Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) has started monitoring such listings on online sale platforms. Owners who are selling modified vehicles online are now being notified to produce their vehicle at the RTO for inspection, and that a NOC (no objection certificate) would only be awarded to the vehicle only in its stock condition after stripping off all after-market mods.
The MVD earlier announced its 'Freaken' drive under which it began a crackdown on modified vehicles, and sent notices to owners of such vehicles to produce them after removing all accessories and fittings.
RTO officials told The New Indian Express that according to them aftermarket tyres and other parts affect the stability and centre of gravity of vehicles. They believe that "the manufacturers have set a turning radius for all vehicles, but the alteration changes everything. This will cause accidents".
"Also, replacing silencers causes environmental pollution. As per the Supreme Court order, vehicle modification is a crime. The drive will continue,” says Enforcement RTO K Manojkumar.