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Driving License - Medical certificate hitches

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My license became due for renewal mid-Dec, and with having learned the ropes at the time of renewal of my wife's license (check this), I thought it was going to be just a half hour's job for me at the Koramangala RTO's office. I collected the forms from the very helpful handi-capped man at the reception desk, and went down to look for Dr Khan, for getting the medical certification done. Apart from the medical certification, Dr Khan had, the last time around, proved to be a one-stop shop for everything connected with completing and submitting the forms, including the Rs 25/- postal envelope (in which the RTO will eventually send the renewed license to you through SpeedPost). But, Dr Khan's little 'hole in the wall' of a shop (below the stair-case) was shut. On enquiring with the neighbouring shops, I was given some vague answers, leading to my going there some three more times looking to see if he'll show up. In the process, more than a month had elapsed since the expiry of my license, and I decided to look for another doctor.

Now, I have enough friends who are doctors. But, the problem with all of them is that they seldom have their all important 'seals' available readily, if they have them at all. On checking with our property maintenance manager (appointed by the maintenance contractors, who also make it a practice of getting medical certificates for their employees), I was referred to a certain clinic in Egipura, where I could hope to find a "Registered Medical Practitioner", who has a seal.

So, yesterday morning, I set off around 10.30 AM to look for the clinic, and after locating it, and some 5-minute wait in a small queue, got an audience with the Doc. The Doc filled out the form (mostly striking out yes/no), based on what I told him, and finally affixed his seal. He asked for a Rs 100/-, which I readily gave him, and, as if to justify the charge as also perhaps to do justice to the certification, he then chose to do a blood pressure check on me. With the counts being within limits, I was in effect certified as being fit to drive.

With this main hurdle overcome, I quickly charged to the RTO office in the hope of submitting the forms within the 12 noon cut-off time. The most helpful lady Superintendent there passed all the other documents as in order, except the medical certificate. The medical certificate, she said, has to be issued by a government doctor, and very helpfully suggested to go look for one in the BBMP hospitals in either Adugodi or Madiwala. The Madiwala hospital was described as being near the Ayyappa temple, and that being closer for me, I then headed there. Of course, submitting the forms that day, was now out of the question.

I parked my car near 'Fab-India', walked over to the Hosur road, crossed it, and after making a few enquiries (with some auto-wallah's), reached the BBMP hospital, which is located on the main Hosur road, adjoining the new under-pass (see pictures). On entering, I found myself in an almost empty 15' x 10' hall, from where I was ushered into another similar sized hall, but which was partitioned into two spaces by some cupboards. There were some ten people waiting in some kind of a queue there, the ones ahead being seated on a bench, and the rest standing. Beyond the cupboard, I gathered was an official, from the kind of talk emanating from there. I joined those standing, and decided to await my turn. The time then was around 12 noon, and the 'aayah' type lady who had ushered me in, decided that it was closing time, and shut the collapsible grill main door.

The 5 people in the front of the queue were professional drivers, and their cases were apparently being handled together. And, perhaps since the requirements for them are a little more stringent, and also because they had all not filled out the forms comprehensively, it took over half an hour for the official to process their papers. Of the five, three were asked to go back to get some more documents (or whatever), and the other two were issued receipts for the fee paid, in acceptance of their forms for the doctor's signature and seal affixing, and asked to wait. The official then went on to collect the forms from the remaining lot, including me, collecting the fee of Rs 20/- from each, and issuing a receipts for it.

The official then went on to conduct a vision test for all those whose forms had been accepted. This essentially consisted of his holding a calender against a wall, and asking each person to identify the numbers (about 1" size) pointed out by him, from the end of the hall (about 15'), closing one eye at a time. One of the professional drivers had a problem, and he was asked to come back after getting himself the requisite corrective glasses. All the rest passed, including me, and it was time for issual of the certificates. Each person went in and came out in about 5 minutes, looking contended with the job completed. Finally, my turn came, and even as I was waiting to see if I would actually get to meet the doctor proper, I found the same official (who had collected the fees and issued the receipts and conducted the vision testing), going on to sign on the form and affixing the seal also. And, seeing the signature matching the name on the seal, I ventured out with a "So, you are the doctor?". He responded with a "Sir, can't you see the green ink I am using? - meaning in effect that "he was not just a doctor; but a senior one at that, and a gazetted officer of the government". Sensing my surprise, he went on to add that he was besides, the all in all (receptionist, clerk, sweeper, etc), and on that day, he was playing the role of the nurse too, since she was unwell and taking rest. He went on to add that that was the plight of a 47-year old government doctor, and that there was nobody to listen to them. I told him that, for whatever it's worth, I'll write about it in my blog, wished him well, and came away.

The scrutiny of the documents, payment of fees, photo, signature and left thumb-print capture, etc, was just a half hour job this morning, inspite of the large number of applicants, the generally helpful nature of the officials contributing to the smooth processing through the various stages. And, I expect, my renewed license should reach well within the 10 days' time they have indicated.

The questions arising are:
1) Why has the medical certification necessarily to be done by government doctors? Why can't Registered Medical Practitioners be allowed to do it?
2) During the over one hour I was at the BBMP hospital (rather clinic), the only 'patients' who came there were for the D/L medical certification. Shouldn't the government then be deploying its manpower resources in far more productive ways? Further, do these hospitals serve any worthwhile purpose? If yes, are they equipped for that?
3) For the sheer volume of transactions taking place, the RTO office appears to be totally cramped for space. Shouldn't the government therefore consider shifting the office to say the new TTMC (near the Games Village - expected to be commissioned soon), with more space allocated, and work-flow more streamlined?

Muralidhar Rao

 

Comments

n's picture

Excellent, comprehensive and

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97 users have liked.

Excellent, comprehensive and helpful report, as usual from you.

helpful handi-capped man at the reception desk

most helpful lady Superintendent

was just a half hour job this morning, inspite of the large number of applicants, the generally helpful nature of the officials contributing to the smooth processing through the various stages.

Tremendous change for the better by officials. Hopefully, the changes get inculcated as a culture permanently. So, why don't more people who normally complain also praise the helpfulness? Poor govt. officials only bear the criticism and seldom the praise.

Why has the medical certification necessarily to be done by government doctors?

Possibly because private practitioners may obtain fraudulent seals and/or sign/seal without necessary qualification - due to lack of enforcement. Instead of strengthening enforcement, easy way is to allow only govt. doctors. Pure surmise on my behalf. Of course, this is govt. assuming govt. is lily white. Bigger question is why isn't a multi-lingual board with requirements put up so people don't have go through multiple visits or ask for help. Or, is there one that people don't see?

(PS: You probably already know the reasons but are indirectly questioning the officials so please feel free to disregard or not discuss my surmise :-))


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