Bhubaneswar: Vehicle owners seem to have got little benefit even though chief minister Naveen Patnaik had last month directed the transport department to augment public services and open additional counters to issue learners licence (LL) and other vehicle-related documents.

Plight of the people has come to the fore after a few elected public representatives recently wrote to the transport department demanding additional counters in their areas to handle the rush of applicants at the regional transport offices (RTOs).

Women and child development and Mission Shakti minister Tukuni Sahu, Berhampur MLA Bikram Panda (BJD) and Jeypore MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati (Congress) last week wrote to the transport department and narrated problems of their constituents in getting their vehicle-related documents ready.

In view of mad rush at RTOs for vehicle-related documents to avoid heavy fines under the amended Motor Vehicles (MV) Act, chief minister Naveen Patnaik on September 9 asked the transport department to facilitate smooth delivery of services to the applicants.

Naveen had asked the enforcement squads to not go on an aggressive overdrive against violators for three months and directed the transport department to strengthen facilitation centres, open extra counters and conduct camps in public institutions to enable vehicle users to update their compliance status.

"People of my Titlagarh constituency are facing problems as they have to visit the Balangir RTO to apply for learner's licence and other vehicle related documents. They feel harassed visiting the RTO repeatedly as a result of which discontentment is brewing. I request you to open a new RTO counter in Titlagarh," minister Sahu said.

Bahinipati, who is Congress chief whip, sought a LL counter in Borigumma area in Koraput district. Koraput district has many hilly and inaccessible terrains. People face difficulty in reaching the Koraput RTO. "I request you to set up a counter in Borigumma for the convenience of people," Bahinipati said. Berhampur MLA Panda too wrote to the transport department, seeking additional counters in the southern city.

Transport minister Padmanabh Behera said the department has strengthened public services at many places.

"We have opened extra counters and camps in all 58 sub-divisions in Odisha. Some counters have also been opened in blocks. Additional computers and other logistics have been provided to the RTOs for the convenience of people. Actions are being taken against brokers. Things have improved a lot," Behera told TOI.

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