Kerala govt resumes driving tests; protesters stop man from taking test in Muttathara

Photo: iStock/oatawa

Thiruvananthapuram: As the Kerala government prepares to resume driving tests following a two-day delay, driving schools are poised to escalate their protest against the revised test format. The protesters, under the banner of the All Kerala Motor Driving School Instructors and Workers Association, is scheduled to take out a march to the Secretariat on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, driving school owners stopped a man from taking his driving test in Muttathara of Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. The applicant had arrived at the ground in his own vehicle. The car was later taken to the test ground under police security. Driving school owners said that the vehicle in question did not pass the road test.

Despite the government's provision of a three to six-month grace period for implementing the new driving test guidelines outlined in its circular, the unions refused to de-escalate the protests.

The primary hurdle faced by the Motor Vehicle Department in resuming operations is the absence of applicants who have been assigned slots for driving tests. MVD officials attribute this phenomenon to the pressure exerted by driving school owners. They caution that failure to adhere to the originally allotted slots will result in a waiting period of at least six months for the next available slot.

Of the 86 testing centers across the state, a significant majority—77 centers—are situated on grounds rented by driving school owners. The ongoing protests have disrupted the conduct of driving tests at all these locations. To tackle this issue, a directive has been issued to arrange grounds for conducting driving tests at 24 KSRTC centers. It is understood that tests will be conducted at most of these alternative locations.

Additionally, there are also reports that residents of border districts in the state are now turning to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to obtain driving licenses due to the prolonged uncertainty surrounding driving tests in Kerala.

The Motor Vehicle Department, in a circular on April 4, amended the conditions for the driving license test, mandating all applicants must undergo various real-life driving challenges to qualify for a license. However, protests contend that there are insufficient testing grounds in the state to effectively implement these reforms.

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