RSTA faces hurdles due to staff shortage

Phuentsholing city is considered one of the busiest cities in the country. Hundreds of vehicles ply the roads every day making it one of the busiest traffics in the country.

The traffic monitoring agency, Road Safety and Transport Authority and Traffic Division under the Royal Bhutan Police remain occupied mostly.

However, for RSTA, shortage of staffs has been a problem for years. The agency responsible for monitoring the vehicles’ documents and conducting driving tests is manned by six motor vehicle inspectors altogether.

The officials from the agency said that it has become difficult for them to carry out their responsibilities due to staff shortage. “We are managing anyhow,” an official said.  It is said that the agency earlier has not fed proper information to the Royal Civil Service Commission during its Organizational Development exercise.

Although, RBP and RSTA monitor traffic movement, it is the Thromde’s responsibility to carry out the function as per the Thromde rules. But without staff at Thromde, RSTA so far does it. All the base offices under Phuentsholing region have only two motor vehicle inspectors (MVIs) each.

The MVIs also carry out dual responsibilities of practical and paper works which have become a burden. Therefore, RSTA officials also involved in carrying out practical responsibilities like motor vehicle tests and highway checkings. During driving tests, the staffs first conduct the two types of theory tests, and on the same day have to report for the practical test after assessing the papers. Minimum three staffs are required during practical driving tests. Those same staffs again have to rush to the office to enter data for the license.

RSTA is also mandated to conduct pre-departure and post-arrival inspections for public transport, especially buses. But without enough staff, they have been only managing to conduct sudden inspections. The buses depart from the terminal starting 5:30 in the morning till 4:30 pm. The buses arrive at the terminal from 12 noon till 11 PM. More than 40 buses arrive and depart at the terminal a day and the MVIs are finding it difficult to inspect every bus. However, due to standard working hours which is eight hours a day, the inspections cannot be done according to the official. The option of working on a shift basis is also questionable due to limited staffs. While these inspectors are on the field, there is none in the office for the paper works.

RSTA in Phuenstholing has also received a weighing machine to weigh the passengers’ luggage. But, it has remained unused. “Since RSTA is mandated to conduct highway inspection, theory and practical driving test, motor vehicle pre-departure and post-arrival inspection, there is no question to do all these works by few numbers,” he said adding that the agency cannot inspect passenger luggage charges.

Still, RSTA at least inspects passenger buses every day and conveys waste management awareness to the passengers. In order to provide effective and prompt public service delivery, RSTA in Phuentsholing region requires additional staffs.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing