The study was conducted by Centre for Media Studies and MDRA at transport hubs including Ludhiana, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Indore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Vijaywada, Bangalore and Chennai. Sharing the finding at an event which was attended by over two dozen truck drivers last week, Alok Srivastava, a director at CMS, said the situation was not improving. When he cited the example of illegal tokens, passes and stickers that these government agencies issue to allow vehicles to pass without checks, drivers said, “These are valid for a month.”
Srivastava said in many cases, government officials use holograms on bribe receipts to distinguish ‘original’ from ‘fake’ and use code words like ‘April Fool, May Day and Independence Day’. During the study, drivers also said that mobile phones were used to convey ‘links’. The study estimated the total bribe on roads to be close to Rs 22,000 crore every year.
The findings — based on the surveyors interaction with drivers, fleet operators and law enforcing agencies — also exposed how truck and commercial heavy vehicles were the punching bags for enforcement agencies. Drivers claimed that in 12% cases, authorities challan truckers even when there is no overloading.
They said harassment by police and transport department officials were the two major irritants for drivers on roads. While 77% of them felt police were the biggest irritant, 73% said it was harassment by transport department officials.
However, drivers and truck operators admitted they paid bribe for failing to meet norms or to get things done quickly. They conceded that the major reasons for paying bribe at transport department offices were getting registration and fitness certificates besides permits. On roads, truckers often pay bribe for lack of proper documents, overloading and rash driving. They also said by paying bribe, they avoided hassles in physical verification of goods.
Dipak Kumar Dash TNN