Bengal has no records of ‘Applications for Driving Licence’

In reply to an application filed under RTI last month, this reply from West Bengal Government’s ‘Public vehicles department’ throws up quite a few questions. A pandora’s box of sorts, which hopefully the government takes responsibility of and acts upon.

Application for driving licenceIn short, West Bengal Government’s Public Vehicles Department (Motor Vehicles) does not keep any records. This could very well answer many questions, but its implications, certainly invoke fear. To begin with, just how easy is it for anyone to acquire a false licence. Furnish a name, DOB and address, and a duplicate issue of a license can be availed. That’s all you need.

The brief reply states, ‘Applications for Driving Licence is not preserved in the office for lack of space as well as the records are not permanent as per Bengal records manual. Hence, true copy of the applications submitted by the D/L holder (the applicant himself in the present case) cannot be given for non-availability of the same.

No copy of the IDPs is preserved in the office. Only one copy is prepared and handed over to the applicant after disposal of the same. In the present case, the IDP’s are supplied to the D/L holder with original copies. Hence true copies of IDP’s issued cannot be given.

Since the department hasn’t tracked anything thus far in regards to ‘Applications for Driving Licence‘, no one will be able to answer how many false licenses they may have unwittingly issued owing to this drawback. So, if you’re involved in an accident that requires a driving ban, since the Public Vehicles Department doesn’t preserve applications, is it not easier to apply again at ease. Obviously, this is one government office folks don’t mind making a trip to since you can quite literally forget one license and get a new one, as you please. We’re particularly curious about how many people could actually be using the same licence re-issued.

What’s most shocking is when they talk about space, they really mean space as in a warehouse as against digital space. So, which era is Bengal’s government operating in and why has the system not been online even in 2014? Cheers to a valid identity proof issued by the government, which by the way, the Govt has no record of.