A grim picture of the transport enforcement department of the country’s capital city has appeared where for over 10 million vehicles, only a team of 300 personnel of the state transport department check the vehicles. According to a Hindustan Times report, these officers aged 50 on an average have been tasked with checking old, polluting and overloaded vehicles plying on the city roads.
Reportedly, at present, 60 teams of about five officers each have been deployed across the national capital to initiate action against overloaded vehicles, polluting vehicles and checking Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates.
According to officials, the problem is that errant drivers often take them ‘casually’ and for most people, the police are the only authority of law. After instances of officers being manhandled by motorists, the transport department passed an order that the teams would not go to dimly lit areas.
Reportedly, they perform the task without any help from devices. However, they were supposed to get anti-pollution masks and smoke-test machines to monitor vehicles in 2017, but they have not received the devices yet, Hindustan Times reported.
The enforcement teams catch the offenders on vehicles based on their assumption and from October 5 to November 9, the department had fined 14,938 polluting vehicles.
Staff crunch is another major issue that the department is grappling with. Unlike the Delhi traffic police, that has over 5,500 cops, the government’s transport enforcement team is reportedly functioning with less than half its sanctioned strength of 810.
Moreover, this year the department got 43 head constables after a 23-year wait and in 1995, when the last recruitments were made, only 16 constables were hired. However, in the entire department, there is just one ‘enforcement officer’ of ACP rank, 70 officers for challans and about 120 head constables, who can issue fines of only Rs 100. The rest are those who assist and help in stopping vehicles and taking documents from the drivers.
According to the transport department records, in the last three years at least 12 field officers have died on duty and the Delhi government does not provide any compensation, as it does to the police, firefighters or soldiers, to these enforcement officers despite them losing their lives to unlawful motorists.