PUNE: The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways (MORTH) has instructed all Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) across the country to ensure installation of a tracking device and panic button in every commercial vehicle, excluding autorickshaws, e-rickshaws and commercial two-wheelers. The notification, which was issued on November 28, 2016, came into effect from Monday.
However, it is not yet clear which department will monitor the tracking system and receive the data. Hence, there is a possibility that around 2 lakh vehicles in the city will have to pay hefty fines in future. Also, the RTO has refused to register new vehicles that have not installed the system.
The implementation of this ruling has begun from April 1. The Centre has said that the system is being set up for the safety and convenience of passengers. After the system is set up in a commercial vehicle, passengers can use the panic button during an emergency. It will be registered at the police or the municipal corporation. This will provide a solution for the safety of passengers by locating the vehicle through the Global Positioning System (GPS).
There are around 2 lakh commercial vehicles in the city, which will have to be fitted with the system. The cost of purchasing and installing the device is around Rs 10,000-12,000. Moreover, the monthly fee is around Rs 100-400, depending on the various facilities.
However, the city traffic police have denied that they have received any notification or letter from the MORTH to check the GPS or connect it to the traffic system.
“There are no clear directives, the ministry has just asked us to implement the notification in December. We are seeking clarity from MORTH and the transport commissioner’s office. We have not received any communication from the ministry yet,” said the official from RTO.
However, luxury bus operators association questioned the sudden notification. They said before implementation, the RTO has to convey the message properly, as many buses are yet to pass the fitness test.
Balasaheb Khedekar, President, Pune Luxury Bus Association, said, “The regulation will be an additional burden on those who have bought vehicles in March. In fact, many vehicles are still waiting to pass the fitness test. We are unaware of the new rule.”
Guru Katti, Swaraj Vahan Chalak Malak Sanghatna, President, said, “The decision is welcome. However, the problem is that most of the cabs are owned by drivers so they will have to pay extra for the system. Also, we don’t know where to purchase the device from. Is it to be bought from the government or a private distributor? But if we don’t install the system, we have to pay fine as well.”