PATNA: Persons with disabilities in Bihar will now be exempted from paying road tax for their new vehicles. State transport secretary Sanjay Kumar Agarwal issued directives to the district transport officials after a meeting in this regard on Wednesday.
He also said the district transport offices would have special counters for issuing licences to the disabled people. “There is a provision in Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, as amended in 2017, that zero road tax will be deducted on ‘invalid carriages’ or disabled-friendly vehicles. But the state transport department was not having proper set-up for implementing such provisions. But with immediate effect, all the disabled persons in Bihar will be permitted to drive their disabled-friendly vehicles without paying 7% road tax,” Agarwal said and added that the tax charged on such vehicles in previous years would be refunded by the department.
“I always wanted to drive and learned driving before approaching RTOs to apply for a driving licence. But the officials told me that there is no provision to issue licences to disabled persons. I tried this for two years but failed,” rued Dharmendra, a 20-year-old student from Patna. He walks with the help of his forearm and is more than 50% disabled.
Dharmendra was among the five persons with disabilities who received driving licences at Parivahan Bhawan on Tuesday. “I purchased a new scooty yesterday with 7% relaxation on excise duty,” Dharmendra added.
Giving away five driving licences and three learning licences to disabled persons, Agarwal said, “Majority of people with disabilities are mostly apprehensive of using public transport as we don’t have buses equipped with special facilities. Thus, it becomes difficult for them to move from one place to another across the city. With an aim to provide convenience to them, all the district transport officials (DTO) in Bihar have been asked to issue driving licences to disabled persons, who clear all the normal driving tests. Besides, the transport offices will also have separate counters for issuing licences to such persons.”
Kumari Vaishnavi, a social worker who received permanent driving licence after qualifying the test, said, “It was seven years of struggle for me despite having proper driving skills. I felt embarrassed when traffic police used to ask me to show licence. They used to sympathize with me for my disability. Now I can drive proudly with my licence.”
Procedure to apply for driving licence: The disabled persons need to apply for licence along with a certificate of vehicle that has been specially designed with features like automatic clutch and gear, Patna DTO Ajay Kumar Thakur said. “They will be issued a learning licence. After one month, a permanent driving licence will be issued, if they pass the driving test conducted by respective district’s motor vehicle inspectors (MVI),” he said.