Gurugram: Violators line up to pay fines as DGP tells cops to not harass motorists
A tractor trolley driver, carrying bricks, was fined ₹59,000 on Tuesday after he jumped a traffic signal in New Colony, police said. According to the police, Ram Gopal was not carrying the requisite documents, and the traffic police personnel on duty fined him for 10 offences and his tractor trolley, which had a temporary number, was impounded.
According to his ticket, he was fined for driving without a license (₹5,000), registration certificate (₹5,000), plying transport vehicle without fitness certificate (₹10,000), third party insurance (₹2,000), air pollution certificate (₹10, 000), carriage of dangerous goods (₹10,000), dangerous driving (₹5000), for disobeying police orders (₹2,000), disobeying traffic signal (₹5,000) and jumping the traffic light (₹5,000).
Three days after the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, which steeply raised penalties for traffic violations, came into force, confusion prevailed on Wednesday as motorists queued up to pay the hefty fines at the challan branch of the office of commissioner of police. Several motorists alleged harassment on part of police personnel and expressed their inability to pay the “extortionate” fines. They said the police were issuing tickets arbitrarily and there was no clarity on whether certain offences would be waived off.
Rahul, an autorickshaw driver from Basai, was fined ₹27,000 on Monday for driving without a license, registration certificate, third party insurance, violating air pollution rules and jumping a traffic light. He said, “I was sitting in the autorickshaw near Aggarwal Dharamsala in the afternoon when a traffic policeman came and issued a challan. I told him that I have all the documents, but he did not listen and asked me to take back the vehicle after paying the fine. I earn ₹700 in a day. For the past two days, I have not earned anything. How will I pay the fine? This is harassment.”
Shiv Kumar, another autorickshaw driver, said he was picking up passengers from the bus stand on Wednesday at 9.20am when a traffic policeman issued a fine of ₹37,000. “I was shocked when he issued the ticket. I purchased the auto three months ago, so I had all the documents. I pleaded with them to look at the documents, but they were in a hurry. A poor man cannot pay his income of two months in fines,” he said. According to his challan, he was penalised for driving without a license, registration certificate, plying transport vehicle without fitness certificate, third party insurance, violating air pollution norms and disobeying traffic signal.
A senior police officer said that the Haryana deputy general of police (DGP) had ordered all police officials that commuters should not be stopped only on the pretext of checking their documents only to issue fines.
“The DGP has stated that vehicles should only be stopped if there is a traffic violation, such as not wearing the helmet, seat belt, rash driving, jumping red light. Strict compliance is required from all police officials in this regard,” the officer said.
Three days after the rules came into force in the city, several motorists said they were unaware of the hike in penalties for violating traffic norms.
Prince, 25, who works with an automobile company in Badshahpur, said he was simply flagged down on Monday by a policeman on MG Road when he was on his way to work. “I did not have some documents. The police officer issued a challan of ₹23,000. Even my motorcycle may not be worth that much money in the second-hand market. I don’t even have the option of not paying the fine. I took a leave from work and came here to submit the documents,” he said standing in the queue at the Traffic Tower, challan branch.
However, traffic police officers at the challan branch informed violators that the quantum of fine can be waived off for offences related to documentation, if the papers are produced and found to be in order.
An official, requesting anonymity, said, “For instance, if a person has been fined for not carrying licence, RC and insurance, but produces them later, the fines would be waived off and only ₹100 penalty would be levied for each offence. But, for non-compoundable offences (related to traffic violations) such as jumping a traffic signal, wrong side driving, drunken driving, the penalty would have to be paid in full.”
Traffic police officers said though the hike in fines would act as a deterrent in the long run, it was too early to gauge the immediate impact.
Assistant commissioner of police, traffic (west), Ashok Kumar said, “It would take some time to make an assessment. The new rules would make the system more robust. We are already hearing reports of people queuing up at petrol pumps for pollution checks.”
On an average, 750 fined for traffic violations are issued in a day in the city. According to data from the city traffic police, 818 challans were issued on September 1, the day new rules came into effect. On September 2 and 3, 950 and 744 challans were issued, respectively.