Hyderabad Driving schools take people for a ride
There are over 100 driving schools in the twin cities and Ranga Reddy district. Not only do the driving schools lack proper infrastructure, they are also unauthorised to process driving licences.
Anuradha Kamat, a school teacher and resident of Tarnaka, cannot reverse her new Maruti Alto 800 properly. She has no clue how the engine looks and does not know where the puncture kit is. She drives the car daily to work but confesses, “I am not at all confident while driving.”
Like her, there are hundreds who get a driving licence every month despite having questionable driving skills. Thanks to the lack of regular checks, fake driving schools have mushroomed in the city.
There are over 100 driving schools in the twin cities and Ranga Reddy district. Not only do the driving schools lack proper infrastructure, they are also unauthorised to process driving licences. They do so by charging anywhere between Rs 4,800 and Rs 5,200 for training and processing a driving licence.
Praveen Rao, deputy transport commissioner, Ranga Reddy district, says, “The vigilance wing conducts surprise checks and also holds programmes for driving schools. Whenever we get wind of fake schools or the ones that do not have a licence we take action.”
However, several agents say that raids are seldom made.
Madhusudhan Rao, an agent at Nagole RTA, says, “Driving schools do not maintain registers on the number of people trained. Theory classes are not conducted, many cars do not have seat belts and head lights and driving classes are rarely conducted at night.”
Many driving schools start branches but do not go in for separate registration. Owners even put a stamp of their driving school on Form No 2 and Form No 4.
While the qualification to start a driving school is a diploma in mechanical engineering along with a heavy driving licence and a separate classroom for theory classes, there are hardly any driving schools that have the facilities. Most run without a valid licence.
Mallikarjuna Rao, a retired employee of the transport department, says, “Prior to 1975, the department used to run driving schools. But due to lack of funds and due to retirement of motor vehicle inspectors the schools were shut down. Now with the mushrooming of private driving schools the quality of training has been badly hit.”
Flouting the norms
- RTA officials need to inspect driving schools every six months. But it is not happening
- Driving schools seldom maintain register books on the number of people who take driving lessons
- The schools are not authorised to process driving licences, but they provide the service
- High Court guidelines for driving schools are not adhered to
- Many driving school cars do not have seat belts and headlights. Many cars have two sets of gears and accelerator.
- Registration for a driving school is given for a period of five years and some schools open branches without applying for a separate registration.
- The qualification for starting a driving school is a diploma in mechanical engineering, a heavy driving licence, separate classroom for theory classes
By: T P Venu