Pune police yet to collect ₹50 crore fine from traffic violators
The Covid-19 situation has impacted the fine collection drive of Pune traffic branch as only ₹8 crore has been recovered from the total amount of ₹41.48 crore, including unpaid fines from previous years, between January and September 15 this year. The traffic branch has taken action against 12.80 lakh vehicles for different violations in 2020.
The pandemic situation left the staff to shift focus from managing vehicular movement to Covid-19 related tasks. Some were also tasked with the responsibility of issuing challans for violations of coronavirus-related regulations
In 2019, the traffic police had issued 27.59 lakh challans amounting to fine of ₹111 crore. However, the recovery had been around 55 per cent, traffic branch officials said.
Towards the end of 2017, the traffic police had unpaid dues, including backlog, of ₹18.40 crore. A total of 673,982 violations were recorded in 2017. In 2018, of the total unpaid violations of 2017, 15,778 violations were paid for and the unpaid amount was reduced by ₹38.50 lakh. However, the unpaid dues stood at ₹15 crore from 658,204 violations.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, the traffic police carried out special drives to collect unpaid dues from traffic violators through “nakabandi” (barricades) application, which helps to instantly know if a person has traffic violation cases registered against his or her vehicle.
The e-traffic police track violators through traffic policemen deployed on the city roads as well as CCTV camera system which feeds live updates to a control room at the traffic department at police commissioner’s office through its 1,200 cameras.
The unpaid dues are majorly from CCTV camera cases as police personnel can collect fine immediately. However, the CCTV system notifies the violators through SMS facility on their mobiles. During the tenure of the former Pune police commission K Venkatesham, the e-challan system was extensively used to collect fines. Since the CCTV cameras have been linked with the e-challan system, a rise in traffic violations was recorded. However, there has also been a pendency of fine recovery since the introduction of the system as offenders do not pay penalty despite sending SMSes and reminders, a traffic official said.
In February 2019, the traffic control branch had released a list of 100 vehicles with the most pending traffic violations recorded by CCTV cameras and e-challan machines and digital system. The traffic police had stated that the details of vehicles and the owners found violating the traffic violations repeatedly and not paying fines would be uploaded on punepolice.gov.in and punetrafwatch.com websites and on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. DCP Prasad Akkanouru could not be reached for his comments. His office informed that the DCP had proceeded on training course. Additional commissioner (admin ) Sanjay Shinde when contacted replied that he would be revert with the details.
According to a traffic official, recovery from local vehicle owners in an uphill task despite sending SMSes and reminders.
Joint commissioner Ravindra Shisve said, “Will be able to comment only after checking the details.”
Caught on the wrong side of the law
Pune traffic police have been unable to recover fines as violators do not respond to SMSes and reminders, and lockdown restrictions due to coronavirus pandemic.
Violators: 12.80 lakh
Fine collection backlog: ₹41 crore
Total fine: ₹49.48 crore
Recovery: ₹8 crore
Violators: 27.59 lakh
Fine collection backlog: ₹50 crore
Total fine: ₹111 crore
Recovered: ₹61 crore
Violators: 7 lakh
Fine collection backlog: ₹15 crore
Total fine: ₹30 crore
Recovered: ₹15 crore
Violators: 6.73 lakh
Fine collection backlog: ₹13 crore
Total fine: ₹19 crore
Recovered: ₹6 crore