Negotiations with Transport Minister successful; driving school owners' associations call off strike

Representational Image: Manorama/ File

Thiruvananthapuram: Motor driving school owners' associations on Wednesday called off their strike after discussions with Transport Minister K B Ganesh yielded a positive outcome. The discussion was held in the minister's chamber. Driving school organisations, including CITU, participated in the discussion. 

It was decided in the meeting the dual-clutch system would continue and that vehicles that have been on the road for 18 years would be allowed for driving tests. It was also decided that first the 'H' test and then the road test would be held rather than the other way round, which was proposed in the reformed version. Driving school owners agreed to install cameras in the test vehicle. The Motor Vehicle Department will buy the dash cams and install them on the vehicles used for tests. The same footage will be stored in the RT office computer for up to three months. The department will form a committee to consolidate the fees charged for driving tests. The minister also informed that the Kerala State Regional Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will start 10 driving school centres.

The associations were on strike for 15 days. Ganesh Kumar, who refused to back down from the new driving test reforms that were to be implemented, was forced to call the associations for a discussion after the protests got stronger.

The associations continued their protest despite the government issuing a circular delaying the implementation of the revised driving test format.
Out of the 86 testing locations across the state, only 18 were operational on Tuesday. A total of 274 candidates – Pathanamthitta (72), Idukki (60), and Kottayam (61) - attended the tests.

The Motor Vehicles Department found itself in a dilemma as candidates failed to appear for tests despite police security and officials' presence.
Despite warnings from the department about a one-year waiting period for failing to adhere to allotted slots, candidates still didn't show up. In light of this, the minister and Transport Commissioner reportedly opted to convene discussions to resolve the dispute. 

The Motor Vehicle Department, through an April 4 circular, amended the conditions for the driving license test, requiring applicants to undergo various real-life driving challenges. However, protestors argue that there are insufficient testing grounds in the state to effectively implement these reforms.

Even with the government offering a three to six-month grace period for implementing the guidelines outlined in its circular for overhauling the driving test format, unions remain resolute and refuse to de-escalate the protests.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.