To control the burgeoning expenditure on fuel and maintenance of thousands of government vehicles, the Finance Department has introduced a technology-based vehicle monitoring system in 55 government departments.After its successful trail run, the system is all set to be introduced for all vehicles, be it trucks, buses, cranes, fire tenders, light motor vehicles or two-wheelers and hand drawn vehicles owned by the state. The government is expecting to cut the expenditure by 25 per cent from the first month of its implementation.This is the first time that a detailed data base of all government vehicles and expenditure incurred on them is being worked out. Till now, all government departments would get separate budget for the maintenance of vehicles, but often fuel expenses were drawn from general office expenditure. Last year, an estimated Rs 150 crore was set aside for the maintenance of vehicles under different departments, but money was also drawn from office expenditure head. All this will now change a budget of Rs 120 crore has been set aside for this fiscal and no other withdrawal would be allowed.Finance officials roped in the National Informatics Centre to prepare software for this system. The details of every vehicle along with the details of the driver and the officer/office to which the vehicle is attached is being uploaded on the e-platform created to run the system. Even details of the vehicles hired by the government will be put up on the platform. This will also include vehicles at the dispodal of the CM and Punjab Governor.Tampering of odometers (that read the distance covered) of vehicles, submitting inflated fuel bills, and condemning of vehicles before they are due have been common problems, which the government hopes to do check.Yashanjit Singh, additional secretary, finance, told The Tribune that as of now, details of 6,626 vehicles had been uploaded. “We are pursuing the case with all departments and DCs for uploading the details to make the system operational soon. Initially, we expect to bring down the cost of fuel and maintenance by 25 per cent,” he said.The database reveals that the maximum vehicles are owned by the Home department (police), followed by Elections, Water Supply and Sanitation, and Excise and Taxation. While the government vehicles are owned by 55 departments, the maximum are in use in Chandigarh followed by Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala.