A racket in driving licence

Insight

Touts in the vicinity of RTOs make it easy for people to get licence irrespective of whether they know driving or not

Do not know driving but want a licence? Sweat not, you can still get one.

As per rules and regulations of the Regional Transport Office, to obtain a driving licence (DL), one has first get a learner’s licence (LL) which is valid for 30 days. After LL lapses, one can appear for a test to get a DL. To get a DL, one has to submit certain documents and give a test and an online test that is mandatory as per RTO rules and regulations.

For a DL, you need:

  • Four passport-size pictures
  • Class X marks card (photocopy)
  • Address proof (photocopy)
  • Aadhaar/voter ID for identity proof (photocopy)
  • A written test- LL (optional)
  • A visit to an RTO for biometric formalities (mandatory)
  • A driving test-DL (optional)

Two crucial documents are optional if you approach a tout.

Touts promise you a DL even if you do not know the basics of a vehicle. They have contacts in the right places and find ways in which you can skip the tests and appear directly for biometric procedures. However, you will have to cough up an amount that is eight times the official fees. Normally, you would pay a maximum of Rs 800 for a DL and an LL. People who want to circumvent procedures pay between Rs 5,000 and Rs 7,800 for a DL.

Bengaluru City Traffic Police data suggests an increase in the number of drivers without a driving licence till February 2018. The fine for driving without a licence can range between Rs 300 and Rs 500 with or without further implications.

Krishnaiah, a traffic police constable, said: “The fine for riding a two-wheeler without a DL is Rs 300; it is Rs 400 for a similar violation with a four-wheeler. A vehicle may also be seized in case the magnitude of the violation is huge. In case of under-aged driving, the fine is Rs 500 with heavy action against vehicle owners.”

Touts swarm RTO offices across Bengaluru. They are at stationery shops, in photocopying facilities and at photo studios. They can ease the paperwork for you and get you direct entry into RTO offices to get a DL.

According to a study carried out by the Save Life Foundation, an NGO, 59 percent of the people in India do not appear for a test to get a DL. In Bangalore, 48 percent of the DL holders had not appeared for the test required to get the licence. In addition, 82 percent of the people in India feel unsafe while travelling on roads or crossing them. The Times of India reported that 6 out of 10 license holders in India did not take driving tests.

Dismissing the findings of the study, Umakant Bhat, chief statistical officer, Koramangala RTO, said: “These findings are fake. We do not issue a single DL without the proper tests and formalities. All the DLs issued here are after proper tests and procedures. My own daughter applied twice and failed; only the third time did she get a DL after passing the test.”

Whether you belong to Bengaluru or not, getting a duplicate licence made is a snap.

Siddiq Shariff of motor driving training school at Indiranagar said: “It is not a problem if you have lost your driving licence issued in Delhi. You can get a DL in Bengaluru that will cost you Rs 2,200 including a learner’s licence.”

He, however, insisted  on documents. “You need to bring the electricity bill of your hostel and a passport-size photo.”

You can get a licence made even if you don’t have papers to prove where you stay.

Syed Jafar, owner of a photocopying shop in the BDA complex housing the Koramangala RTO, said: “To get a driving licence, you will have to give Rs 5,500 for everything. You just need to come for the biometric procedures and the final picture. You don’t have to stress over the test. If you have your house agreement papers, it would be great; otherwise, I will make them myself.”

Even with proper papers, many citizens end up paying extra. A person from Mumbai who moved to Bengaluru ended up paying Rs 7,800 for a DL. Going through the official route would have cost her Rs 800. Touts, who know officers in RTOs, are on the lookout for such people.

Rachael Mones shared: “I recently shifted to Bengaluru and paid a total of Rs 7,800 to get a DL. I have all the documents and learned how to drive from an institute.”

These agents are said to have other “sources” apart from acquaintances in cabins. They also have an understanding with drivers who pass candidates who drive on the 8-shaped tracks.

Venugopal T, an LIC and vehicle insurance agent, told an applicant: “Bring your Aadhaar card, address proof of your current residence and your 10th grade marks sheet. You will still be required to appear for the test in the Ullal RTO. Do not worry, our driver will be there. You just need to go for one round. Even if you are unable to drive, our driver will be there. He will take care of everything.”

Receptionists at RTOs are ever helpful. A receptionist at the Koramangala RTO, a police constable, promised to get a DL made. He provided this Insight reporter different rates. The less one knows driving , the more one has to pay. “Since you do not know how to drive or ride, it will cost you Rs 5,000 for all the procedures involved. I have to get approvals from three officers. I know the signing police officer personally. I guarantee that you get a DL.”

When Insight spoke about an imaginary person who knows how to ride a bike but can’t drive a car, he said: “That would cost you Rs 4,000. Do not worry about the paper work, I will get all the signatures required.”

 

NO SHORTS

A person cannot enter an RTO cabin for tests if he or she is wearing shorts.

 

 

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