JAMMU: In order to provide better transportation facilities, ensure mobility and connectivity to the people of the Union Territory, pilgrims and tourists, the Transport Department is facilitating and regulating the motor vehicles of all categories. The Department is to provide hassle-free services to the people for which it has shifted from manual to web-based online services, an official spokesman said.
The department is entrusted with registration of vehicles, issuance of driving licenses, issuance of licenses to driving schools, issuing route permits within or outside the State for the smooth flow of goods and services.
To encourage the introduction of eco-friendly fuel-efficient buses, the Government recently has accorded sanction to Transport Subsidy Scheme to provide Rs 5 lakh subsidy to transporters for replacement of 15-year old buses, matadors and minibuses. The scheme is intended to provide impetus to public transport by providing subsidy to transporters for introducing new eco-friendly fuel-efficient buses compliant to BS-IV and above norms.
Notably, the subsidy for purchasing new buses in the private sector by private owners to the tune of Rs 25 crore has already been earmarked in the 2019-20 budget. The amount of subsidy would be Rs 5 lakh per bus.
One of the other main functions of the department is to take steps to curb the pollution and for this purpose, the department has already issued licenses to 153 pollution checking centres and more are in the offing.
The Jammu & Kashmir Road Safety Council which was constituted with the clear mandate to advise the Government on road safety policies is functioning in the UT besides the District Road Safety Committees are also in place to ensure that steps at the district level are being taken to save the human lives by preventing road accidents. The council is working with an aim to prevent accidents and reduce the number of deaths by 2020.
The Road Safety Fund was also established in the year 2018 which is being managed by a Committee headed by the Administrative Secretary, Finance Department. From this kitty, Rs 5.70 crore was spent in 2018-19 and Rs 26.5 crore is allocated for the year 2019-20. The main objective behind the creation of the fund was identifying and removing the black spots on roads to ensure a safe journey.
The Department has introduced scientific data and technology-based methods to ensure safety on roads and regulate traffic. For this, it has launched Road Accident Data Management System (RADMS) to enable the transport and the Police, Traffic and the road owning agencies to take rational/scientific corrective measures for ensuring road safety. RADMS is having a Mobile App and centralized MIS which is developed through NIELIT J&K.
The data that is being generated by RADMS is deciphered and collected for taking necessary action at the accident spot.
The Transport department has initiated the implementation of multiple measures in addition to the RADMS. These include web-based services, replacement of paper documents with smart cards, digitisation of records and introduction of Digi-locker services among others.
All the services pertaining to driving license and registration are being carried out through Vahan/Sarthi, an upgraded online portal of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, GoI. Through this online web portal, people are now able to submit an on-line application, book slot for learner license, driving trial tests and also make payments through e-banking.
The need to physically visit the RTO/ARTO offices for this purpose stands eliminated by the introduction of this online service. To reduce human interference in the service delivery system, the department had launched online services and postal delivery of driving license and vehicle registration certificate.
Institute of Drivers Training & Research (IDTR) is also coming up in Jammu in PPP mode at an estimated cost of Rs 17 crore, spanning over an area of about 100 kanals of land. The facility shall have state of art simulators, testing tracks and other automated infrastructure for high-end training. Inspection and Certification Centre (ICC) is also being set up in Samba district and the creation of this facility will provide a robust and reliable mechanism for carrying out fitness test of vehicles and certifying fitness on scientific lines. This will have a direct impact on reducing road accidents in J&K.
The department is taking proactive measures to implement the Supreme Court directions for the fixation of High-Security Registration Plates (HSRP) in motor vehicles in J&K. The HSRP is a standard throughout the country, which displays a uniform pattern registration, a unique laser code, a hologram to prevent counterfeiting, a self-destructive sticker with an engine and chassis number, besides other security features.
The process of HSRP fixation has been recently modified ensuring 100 % compliance by new-vehicle owners. Further, the department is ensuring HSRP fixation on old non-compliant vehicles through strict enforcement and on-road facilitation.
Taking a step forward towards providing eco-friendly public transportation with modern facilities to the commuters in the region, the Jammu & Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) had procured 40 electric buses and has deployed 20 buses each in Kashmir and Jammu Division. It was an effort to contribute to environment preservation.
Besides, JKSRTC has added a large number of vehicles in its fleet thereby expanding its operations in the Union Territory of J&K. At present, there is total of 643 operative vehicles including 389 buses and 319 trucks in the existing fleet position of J&K Road Transport Corporation. Even during the difficult times, JKSRTC has always endeavoured to provide transport facility to the people.
With focus on reducing the accidents in the Chenab Valley of Jammu region, which unfortunately makes up for most deaths in road mishaps due to difficult terrain and scarcity of sufficient public transport, the Transport Department has procured 33 buses which will be soon deployed in the areas to reduce the overloading and subsequent accidents, besides covering the left-out areas. Similarly, 3 buses will be deployed in Gurez valley in Kashmir region soon.
The Department during the current year has issued 51,892 fresh driving licenses whereas, 58,557 licenses have been renewed (up to November 2019). It has also issued fresh fitness certificates to 8,577 commercial vehicles and renewed fitness certificates to 60,589 vehicles during the said period. In addition to the above, 96,718 fresh registration of vehicles has been done by the Department during the said period.
In order to provide better connectivity and encourage the use of public transport, 3,337 fresh route permits have been issued and 40,613 route permits have been renewed by the Department till November 2019.
The Department, in order to minimise the road accidents, is also making all-out efforts through general awareness programmes to sensitise the general masses particularly, drivers and student to follow traffic rules and regulations. In this regard, 1,579 general awareness programmes were conducted and 55,883 drivers were covered under medical check-up programme during the last year.
Ensuring strict enforcement of traffic rules & regulations, the focused drives are being carried out for curbing the propensity to drive without seatbelt, helmet, using mobiles and other such offences.
The Transport Department has realized a revenue of Rs 16,387.14 lakh till ending October 2019 in the form of various fees/tax/penalty under relevant rules of Motor Vehicle Act.