Gujarat’s Vehicle Fitness Centres Face Action Over Irregularities

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Gujarat’s Vehicle Fitness Centres Face Action Over Irregularities

| Updated: February 25, 2024 12:11

Nearly all of Gujarat’s 16 automated fitness centres for heavy goods and passenger vehicles are under the scanner of the state transport department for alleged irregularities in issuing fitness certificates. The centres are accused of issuing certificates to dilapidated vehicles from Rajasthan based on manipulated images.

Following these allegations, all 16 centres were served notices. As a result, 15 centres are now facing potential license suspension, while three could be subject to police complaints for allegedly altering vehicle images to falsely represent them as ‘fit’.

The transport department conducted a thorough investigation, which included detailed analyses of CCTV footage and road tax data, followed by individual hearings with the centre operators. “Post the hearings, the department discovered irregularities at all centres, except one. These centres are now facing license suspension ranging from 15 days to six months. The three centres found guilty of image manipulation are likely to face police complaints,” an official stated.

The investigation also revealed that many vehicles from Rajasthan, despite having local fitness testing centres, were obtaining their certificates from centres in Gujarat. Intriguingly, many of these vehicles had never even entered Gujarat, as evidenced by CCTV footage and FASTag records at toll plazas. Some vehicles were even located in other states on the days their certificates were issued.

The centres’ modus operandi was straightforward. They would request pictures of heavy vehicles, and owners would provide doctored images to obtain the fitness certificate. Further checks of permit and road tax data revealed that these vehicles neither had a temporary permit to enter Gujarat nor had they paid road tax, confirming that they received the certificates without undergoing an actual test.

Despite the standard charges of INR 200 to INR 600 for tests, depending on vehicle size, the centres were found to be charging between INR 3,000 and INR 5,000 to issue fitness certificates.

“In many cases, the vehicles did not even have FASTags. How did they then ply in Gujarat when it is mandatory for every heavy vehicle registered here to have a FASTag?” questioned an officer. The physical condition of some of the vehicles was so poor that it was impossible for them to travel to Gujarat, yet they were still issued fitness certificates.

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