Private tourist vehicles for election use: Travel Association alleges official high-handedness

Private tourist vehicles for election use: Travel Association alleges official high-handedness

April 27, 2023

We are ready to hand over vehicles but do not suddenly take them away’

Mysore/Mysuru: The Mysuru Travels Association (MTA) has alleged the high-handedness of the Transport Department and the election officers while taking away vehicles for election duty.

The Association, comprising owners of cars and other vehicle rental agencies, has alleged that their prior commitments are not being honoured and their vehicles are being taken away in an autocratic manner, without prior information.

A memorandum submitted to the office of Regional Transport Office (RTO) West in Mysuru, said that the Transport Department officials like Inspectors and RTO officers suddenly turn up in offices of the travel agencies and take possession of the vehicles, causing a lot of inconvenience to the customers, who book the vehicles well in advance and make payments too.

According to the poll manual, Government and commercial vehicles are supposed to be used for election work and private ones are to be left untouched. But the District Administration has powers to even keep the option open for using private vehicles as a last resort.

Popular among the vehicles are SUVs and Tempo Travellers which are used to ferry election observers and flying squads. As there is a total and absolute ban on the use of official vehicles for campaigning, electioneering or election-related travels during elections, Government vehicles are used by officers for election purposes.

“We commit our vehicles for use of travellers and tourists who have booked them in advance. But here, the Transport Department and the election officers take away the vehicles without prior information. There have been instances of officials taking away vehicles while tourists are still on trips. Tourists are made to get down from their vehicles and they are stranded in the middle of the roads, calling us frantically for help,” MTA President C.A. Jayakumar told Star of Mysore.

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Immediately arranging alternative vehicles for tourists becomes difficult if the officials suddenly turn up in the offices and take possession of the vehicles. “We are ready to cooperate with the District Administration and we are ready to give the vehicles as it is for a democratic and nation-building purpose. But the least we expect is prior information before our vehicles are taken away,” he added.

Many travel agencies have not received payment from the Government for the use of their vehicles during the last elections even after eight months. “When travel agencies approached the Transport Department, the officers passed the buck on the Deputy Commissioner’s Office. The DC Office officers told us that they are yet to receive the funds due towards the use of vehicles,” the Association said.

Instead of taking possession of the vehicles in a sudden manner, it must be a win-win solution for the administration, tourists and travel operators. “This is causing huge inconvenience to the tourists and also MTA stakeholders. The DC should intervene and convene a meeting of the travel agencies and obtain vehicles required for the elections. We are ready to hand over the vehicles,” Jayakumar added.


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