MUMBAI: The Thane Regional Transport Office (RTO) had a surprise visitor on Friday. Transport minister Anil Parab applied to get a learner’s driving license without informing officials that he was the minister.
Surprisingly, while Parab reached out to an agent and submitted his form, no one asked him for a bribe. However, many officials were missing from the office and Parab has now asked for a report on latecomers from transport commissioner Avinash Dhakne.
“I didn’t tell anyone. There are a lot of agents at all RTOs so I went to see firsthand how the RTO was functioning. I filled up the form with my name and details and even stood in the line for a learner’s license. No one asked for a bribe but many officers were missing. So I have asked the TC to take action and submit a report on this,” Parab said.
Thane RTO officials said that they were surprised to see the minister on Friday at a time when few of them were busy with the Road Safety month work. As for officers not being present at the time when Parab arrived at the RTO, an official from Thane RTO, who requested anonymity, said “These officers, whom the minister is pointing fingers at, had gone for a meeting to transport commissioner’s office near Flora Fountain in south Mumbai. They were officially called with a letter issued by the transport commissioner office.”
He further said : “The officers were on the way to attend that meeting when they learnt the minister had come on a surprise visit. So they took a U-turn and came back to Thane and attended the meeting with the minister.”
After some officials realised that it was Parab who was standing in the queue for a learner’s license, there was a scramble and officers then took Parab to RTO’s office.
Parab said that he would now start surprise visits at all RTOs across the state once in 15 days. “I will go to one RTO every fortnight and see if things are working properly or not. Most of the licenses are now online but still agents are around. I want to make sure that people can get their work done online on their own and should not need an agent. We will take serious action if any lapses are found during the surprise visits. Officials must come on time and be in their office during duty hours,” Parab said.