They try to make it as difficult as possible

A reason to celebrate: I successfully paid the road tax for my car today

It used to be a simple affair earlier in Chennai what with various extension counters opened all over the city to collect the road tax and issue the tokens.  I have made payments in select IOB branches for the same.

With the introduction of life tax, the number of people required to pay annual road tax came down drastically and perhaps that is the reason why it has become highly inconvenient.

When we can pay Income tax, Electricity bill, ROC Fees and even VAT through internet and other modes like ATM or select branches of banks, it is inconceivable why the RTO insists that the payment be made only at its offices.

When I went to the RTO Office to make the payment, there was no power but I still wonder how the computers and the printers were working (did not see any gen set or big UPS).  It was quite hot and sultry and the counters were set in an inner chamber with space to accommodate 20 or 30 persons only.  As the last date to accept payments was 11th, I decided to wait in the queue and complete the job.

There were 2 counters and both were all-purpose in the sense that they accepted payments for all services such as change of name or address, revocation of hypothecation to name a few.  It was not clear as to what documents to present for the payment of road tax and soon there was confusion.  Further, some had brought only photocopies of the required documents like insurance and were not sure whether it will be accepted.  There was neither a board or a notification that spelt out the required documents nor were there any competent official who was present.

The queue moved as slowly as it could because the person at the counter was also issuing multiple payment challans to those who entered via the back door and none (including myself) bothered to even raise an issue about it.  All of us wanted to get the job done and leave.

The person before me was asked to go back and get the green tax token issued two years ago because the endorsement was not done in his RC book and he meekly left, having spent a better part of an hour sweltering in the humid room.

I handed over the RC book with the attachments to the counter clerk and was surprised when he looked at each and returned them including the RC book to me. I was standing there and he was looking at me for a while before asking for my papers.  Clearly he was not in his elements for some time.  I told him that he had already checked the documents and in fact gave them back to me.  He apologized for his gaffe and in the rather poor lighting environment, printed the challan and wrote the details in his register.  i then took the challan to his colleague who wrote the tax token leisurely and then asked me to get it signed from the superintendent outside.  That lady looked at everything once again and affixed her signature in red ink on the RC book endorsement as well as on the Tax token and I marched out triumphantly, relieved that I do not have to endure this agony for another year.

If I had given the job to an agent or a tout, I would have to pay an extra Rs.100.  Many people prefer to go that route than having to suffer for an hour at least.

What was your recent experience with a government agency?





  1. ChennaiCitizen said,

    April 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Why did you not go for the Life Tax?

  2. badrirag said,

    April 7, 2011 at 3:10 am

    I had gone in for a pre-owned car which belonged to the pre-life tax generation and hence forced to go through this yearly ritual.

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