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Rs 22K Cr Bribe Paid Yearly on Roads

Bribery on Indian roads by enforcement agencies is unwrapped secret. Now, a study carried out across a dozen major transport hubs covering over 1,200 truck drivers has exposed that in 60% cases, cops and officials extract money from truckers by stopping them without giving a cause. It has also discovered that around 90% of the backhander goes to policemen and transport department personnel. The study was done by Centre for Media Studies and MDRA at transport hubs counting Ludhiana, Delhi, Ahmadabad, Indore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Vijayawada, Bangalore and Chennai. Sharing the discovering at an event which was focused by over two dozen truck drivers last week, Alok Srivastava, a director at CMS, said the circumstances was not improving. When he quoted the example of illegal tokens, passes and stickers that these government agencies issue to let vehicles to pass without checks, drivers said, "These are valid for a month." Srivastava said in many cases, government officials make use of holograms on bribe receipts to discriminate "original" from "fake" and use code words like "April Fool, May Day and Independence Day". During the study, drivers also said that mobile phones were used to communicate "links". The study estimated the whole bribe on roads to be close to Rs 22,000 crore every year. The findings based on the surveyors communication with drivers, fleet operators and law enforcing agencies also uncovered how truck and commercial heavy vehicles were the punching bags for enforcement agencies. Drivers claimed that in 12% cases, authority’s challan truckers even when there is no overloading. They said harassment by police and transport department officials were the two major irritants for drivers on roads. While 77% of them felt police were the major nuisance, 73% said it was harassment by transport department officials. However, drivers and truck operators acknowledged that they paid bribe for failing to meet norms or to get things done quickly. They conceded that the major reasons for paying bribe at transport department offices were getting registration and fitness certificates besides getting and renewing permits. On roads, truckers often pay bribe for lack of appropriate and valid documents, overloading, violations including rash driving. They also said that by paying bribe, they kept away from hassles in physical verification of goods.

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