Electronic impact: Rs18 crore in Pune traffic fines still not collected
Between March 29 and December 18, police issued a total of 12,36,430 challans which amount to Rs.30,87,24,702 in fines.pune Updated: Dec 21, 2017 14:52 IST
Residents of Pune owe Rs.18 crore to the city’s traffic police in the form of unpaid fines for traffic rule violations, according to trafficpolice records. These “traffic challans (fines)” are issued either virtually or by policemen deployed on the roads.
Between March 29 and December 18,police issued a total of 12,36,430 challans which amount to Rs.30,87,24,702 in fines.
Within the mentioned nine months, total unpaid fines are to the tune of Rs.17,90,51,911, through 6,57,978 violations.
“We are working on the collection of fines. The number of Vodafone stores for payment of fines has been increased from 24 to 74. We have also started issuing notices to traffic violators. We have issued 2,000 notices so far and will be issuing more,” deputy commissioner of police (DCP, traffic) Ashok Morale told Hindustan Times on September 11.
If a violator fails to respond to the notice, a court case will be filed and the procedure will be initiated, DCP Morale had added.
“We have sent close to 5,000 notices so far. We have received an 80 per cent response to the notices. A few people delay, but most pay up immediately. Through CCTV alone we have collected fines up to Rs.1 crore,” DCP Morale says.
A person with more than five violations gets a legal notice and can have their licence revoked.
The city witnesses its maximum number of traffic violations in zone 3, which includes Chinchwad, Pimpri, Wakad and the Hinjewadi area.
The police started the system of issuing e-challans in order to make the process of filing cases easier. Once the e-challan is issued through an SMS, residents can pay the fine levied for the traffic rule violation through bank cards in order to eliminate cash transactions on the streets.
However, knowledge of this system is dismal among residents HT spoke to.
The e-challan system was launched on March 29 and the central traffic management system control room was launched by the Pune Police on August 19. The control room, which receives a feed from 1,230 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the city, was inaugurated by Maharashtra director general of police Satish Mathur, along with Pune police commissioner Rashmi Shukla and DCP, traffic, Ashok Morale.
Why not having this app could cost you your driving licence
The lack of awareness among residents about how electronic “traffic challans (fines)” are being filed against them and issued is the main reason behind the mounting unpaid dues, according to Pune’s traffic police. And, motorists in the city agree.
Residents of Pune have been provided with several options to pay their fines for traffic rule violations. There is a web portal (punetrafficop.net), a mobile application, traffic divisional offices and 75 Vodafone centres that will accept digital payment of dues, according to Ashok Morale, deputy commissioner of police, traffic, Pune.
Traffic fines for speeding, not wearing a helmet or seat-belt, among others, rarely exceeds Rs.200, as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The police have also made transactions on the roads between traffic policemen and motorists cashless, with the use of card payment devices.
Why then, has the amount of unpaid fines reached Rs.17,90,51,911 in 2017? Why is the collection of dues dismal in the city?
When asked, DCP Morale, said, “Getting people to know that they have a violation charge against them is the biggest challenge. We have a pool of eight lakh mobile numbers from the Regional Transport Office (RTO), but it is difficult to reach people beyond that.”
While the mobile application was launched this year, the online portal has been active for years.
However, awareness among people about the portal may be negligent, according to the traffic police.
Police spoke about a woman who had over 15 violations in her name and was served a notice. “There was some confusion with the registration number there. We sorted it out,” DCP Morale says.
However, the woman did not know until a notice was served and her license was cancelled, according to the police.
Another resident, who found four violations against his vehicle registration number, said that he would have paid the dues earlier had he known about it. “I recently moved from my rented house. These violations are for crossing the white line (of zebra crossing) while standing at a signal. I had no idea I had these charges against me until someone in my office asked me to check the website,” said Vivek Bugad, 32.
The recovery through fines collected by on-site traffic police employees is much higher than the recovery from challans issued for violations caught on the CCTV system. Although other factors, like lack of a bank card, debit or credit, affect recovery, instant payment methods have garnered Rs.11,92,73,591 in fines through 5,32,964 charges, as against Rs.1,03,99,200 through 45,488 CCTV cases, according to the police records.