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Punjab likely to privatise driving licence

LAHORE: As part of the city traffic management plan, Punjab may soon withdraw licencing power from the police and grant it to a newly created authority, which, in turn, will privatise the entire process training, testing and award of driving licence.

According to sources in the transport department, premature licence award is one of the major causes of traffic mess. Precisely for this reason, the government now wants to hit the nail on the head by streamlining issuance of licences.

The new authority, as the plan goes, will invite applications from interested private parties for all stages of the process. The decision will then be made on the basis of the wherewithal of the applicant to perform the job efficiently. The training centres will have to show the fully-equipped vehicles and other gadgets in order to qualify for it. All the drivers at these centres will also have to go through rigorous training before being entitled to train others.

At the second layer, independent companies will be hired, which will test the potential drivers for their education (reading of signs and directions) and vehicle handling in different situations as is done by the developed countries. These companies will send data of successful candidates to all offices concerned. Finally, award of licence will also be made an independent process.
New authority will invite applications; transport dept to regulate training centres

The department will be involved in regulation alone ensuring that all these centres and others involved in the process work according to the rules and regulations. The department, or any other designated body, will continuously evaluate the performance of those granted licence like how many times drivers trained by a particular centre or trainer were challaned on roads. In case of such incidence going beyond a limit (to be decided then) their licences will be liable to cancellation.

According to the sources, vehicle examination process will also be privatised on the similar lines. Any vehicle given fitness certificate will be liability of the designated workshop which had approved them. Any failure will reflect badly on the vehicle and those who issued the certificate.

“Such systems are in vogue in all developed countries,” says an ex-official of Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (Tepa). So in that sense there is nothing new in what the Punjab government plans to do. But they are certainly required and required urgently, given the traffic mess on city roads, he says.

The crucial points in the process will be hiring of the qualified centres and workshops and then continuously evaluating them. “But those planning on these lines must not forget that it is only a part of the problem they are dealing with, not the entire issue. It is a multi-dimensional issue involving capacity of the roads, regulating flows, treating key bottlenecks and improving traffic management on the road. One hopes that these issues will not be ignored by the planners,” he says.

courtesy : dawn news

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