Vehicle tracking devices: Suppliers slam UP govt order for empanelment  

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, December 18: State governments, vehicle manufacturers and suppliers of the location tracking devices are sparring over the modalities of the installation of trackers on old vehicles. Uttar Pradesh transport department had recently called for the empanelment of the suppliers of the devices. The suppliers claim that the vehicle owners as per rules have freedom to choose certified equipment.

“The notification of the Department of Transport, UP, requiring the empanelment of VLTD suppliers in the state is infringing upon the freedom of choice given to the vehicle owners of the state under Rule 125-H of the Central Motor Vehicle Rule,1989 (CMVR). Rule 125-H clearly states that vehicle owners will have the freedom to choose what Vehicle location device as long as they are AIS-140 certified. The empanelment procedure would allow the OEMs to cherry-pick the suppliers of their choice, based on very subjective criteria,” said Amonchit Surya Kiran, president of the Telematics Association of India (TAi).

He stated that as the nation is remembering Nirbhaya on the 10th anniversary of her tragic death, it is time to take concrete steps for avoiding such happenings by deploying technologies that can momentarily spot such crimes and help the victims in time.

“Now India has developed and proliferating technologies and devices that can track down crimes and misdeeds on a real-time basis and the victim can alert security agencies by pressing a button to ensure speedy action to save precious life; yet deployment of such technologies are caught up in bureaucratic inertia, presumably to help some vested interests,” said Kiran. He added that devices developed by Indian entrepreneurs are effectively put to use by foreign countries’ security agencies.

He claimed that “such state-of-the-art devices are manufactured by MSMEs”. TAi said that while the policy of the central government is to deploy security devices in vehicles, such as Vehicle Location Tracking Devices (VLTD)  to ward off happenings that had happened in the case of Nirbhaya and even amended the Central Motor Vehicle Act to enable vehicle owners to compulsorily go for fitting such devices, there seems to be inertia in implementing such rules for one reason or the other. “The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were asked to compulsorily go for VLTD in new vehicles, while old vehicle owners were allowed to source from any  VLTD  manufacturer, provided they are AIS-140 certified,” he added.

But, Kiran said, the recent notification of the Department of Transport, UP, requiring the empanelment of VLTD suppliers in the state is infringing upon the freedom of choice given to the vehicle owners. “In countries like Dubai, authorities have made it compulsory for tracking systems in school buses and public transport to keep the parents informed about the whereabouts of their wards,” TAi pointed out.

Through its notification issued on January 5, 2022, the UP Department of Transport made mandatory the empanelment and registration of manufacturers of Vehicle Location Tracking (“VLT”) devices (AIS-140 Compliant) in the state. “The end-users of this device are manufacturers of public service vehicles, national permit vehicles, and vehicles carrying oxygen (oxygen tankers and argon and nitrogen tankers converted to carry liquid medical oxygen) in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

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