City Correspondent

GUWAHATI, Jan 29: Dr Kamaljeet Singh Soi, a member of the National Road Safety Council, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Government of India, has smelt a rat in the implementation of Rule 125H of the CMV Rules 1989 for mandatory fitment of vehicle location tracking devices (VLTD) and emergency panic buttons in public service vehicles in the State.

Addressing the press here today, Soi said, “The transport department of the State has called for registration of VLTD manufacturers without adopting a common layer backend which should be certified from the testing agencies as specified under Rule 126 of the CMV Rules 1989 and should be integrated with national database of VAHAN.”

Soi also alleged that the transport department has allowed the alleged VLTD manufacturers to use a third party private back-end system for fitment of VLT devices in the State which is not certified as per the standard of AIS 140 and is not integrated with VAHAN.

Soi also asked the transport department to restrain from continuing issuance of any further approval or permission of VLT device manufacturers and adopt a foolproof mechanism for implementation of Rule 125H.

“I fail to understand why the State transport department has called for the subject empanelment of VLTD manufacturers without establishing the command and control centre and without finalising a certified common layer back-end system integrated with VAHAN for fitments of VLTDs in the State,” he said.

Soi also criticised the State government for failing to establish a command and control centre for monitoring the public service vehicles in the State.

“The State government has recently received around Rs 13 crore under the Nirbhaya framework from MoRTH in this regard. Neighbouring state Meghalaya has already set up the command and control centre to monitor the public vehicles in the state,” he added.

Authorised by the State government, the command and control centre shall be used to provide interface to various stakeholders such as state emergency response centre, the transport department or regional transport offices, VLT device manufacturers and their authorised dealers, testing agencies, permit holders, etc.

Following the tragic gangrape of a woman in Delhi in 2012 (the ‘Nirbhaya’ incident), the Government of India set up a committee headed by the late Justice (retd) JS Verma to recommend amendments in criminal laws to address the issue of high rates of crimes against women. Among several issues the committee looked into, the issue of providing adequate safety measures and amenities for women was also addressed. In this regard, the committee had given several recommendations, one of those being that “all buses should be fitted with tamper-proof GPS systems”.

As per the recommendations of the committee, the Government of India in 2016 issued a notification, amending the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 by introducing Rule 125H, making fitment of VLTD with emergency panic buttons mandatory for public service vehicles and goods vehicles with national permit in the country.