The state government is trying all means to stop issuing physical driving license (DL) and registration certificates (RC) of vehicles, but the digitization efforts have failed to get the desired response in remote and inaccessible areas of Odisha, due to lack of smartphones. and bad internet connection.
Although many people in rural pockets are far from using a smartphone, hundreds of villages till today do not have proper internet connectivity.
This situation is reminiscent of the plight of students during the closure of schools due to Covid when they have to climb mountains to find the right network to attend online classes. Many are deprived of online classes due to the lack of smartphones.
Odisha started issuing DL, RC and other vehicle related documents digitally from January 1 this year in line with the state government’s 5T mandate to ensure better service delivery and prevent delays.
Although the sole purpose of this new process was to save time and money, the ground reality shows otherwise.
Car owners have to go through unnecessary problems due to lack of knowledge and sufficient knowledge of technology and smartphones.
Narrating his experience, Nishan Pattnaik, a resident of Jeypore in Koraput district said, “Once I was stopped by the traffic police who asked for my DL and RC. I showed them my DigiLocker. However, they didn’t know what it was and were eager to see my material documents. If the educated traffic police do not know anything about DigiLocker, think of the misery, common people or uneducated villagers and working class people may be facing.”
Similarly, Sadashiv Gouda, from Dasmantpur area said, “I agree with the government’s vision of development. But, how do people know about such advanced things. How many of us have smartphones in rural areas and know how to use them properly?”
On the other hand, many are of the opinion that the visual literature process was neat and easy for the common people.
“Physical documents, looking at hard copies was fine. In the name of digitalization, the government is only adding to the misery of the common people as many so far do not have enough resources to buy a smartphone. Forget about the poor, even most drivers do not use smartphones until now. Moreover, there are chances of fraud,” said Uttam Pradhan, a resident of Balasore.
When contacted Diptiranjan Patra, Joint Transport Commissioner said, “If anyone wants DL and RC on PVC cards, they will be given to him. But, it is optional and not mandatory. The Center has advised to make it optional and the state government has given the green signal. “
(Reporting by T. Gouri Shankar, Ranjit Pakala, Kapilendra Pradhan)