Tech-savvy citizens become eyes and ears of Chandigarh traffic police
As many 18,323 challans have been issued on basis of pictures shared on WhatsApp this year so far, as compared to 87 through FacebookUpdated: Jul 30, 2018 11:37 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Started in 2011 on Facebook, traffic violation information slip (TVIS) has emerged as a useful tool for Chandigarh traffic police to issue challans with the help of citizens.
As cops cannot cover every nook and cranny of the city, citizens with a mobile phone can act as their eyes and ears.
“Every time you see someone break a traffic rule, click a picture or make a video and send it to us,” says senior superintendent of police (SSP, traffic) Shashank Anand.
In fact, such pictures have led to about 40,000 challans in the past seven years.
The pictures can be shared on the traffic police’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ChandigarhTrafficPolice), Twitter handles (@trafficchd and @ssptfcchd) or WhatsApp number (9779580985).
“Write the time and location of the offence and make sure the offence is clearly visible in the picture. Also make sure that the number plate of the vehicle is visible,” he said.
Challan in the form of a TVIS is sent to the address of the vehicle owner registered with the transport authorities, if it is in the tricity. It can be paid to the challaning branch at the traffic police lines in Sector 29 within a month. Otherwise, it is sent to the district courts for further action.
WhatsApp overtakes Facebook
With traffic police sharing a WhatsApp number in 2014, it has overtaken the Facebook page as the major source for issuing TVIS. In fact, as many 18,323 challans have been issued on basis of pictures shared on WhatsApp this year so far, as compared to 87 through Facebook.
An important factor is the police department’s own Whatsapp group. Formed on May 5 this year, it has led to 8,317 TVIS being issued within less than three months.
It has members from the rank of assistant sub-inspector (ASI) to additional director general of police (ADGP).
“Many officers regularly send pictures of traffic violations on the group even while on duty,” said an official. He said both cops and residents find it more convenient to send pictures through the messaging app WhatsApp, rather than Facebook.
‘We check for authenticity’
Vouching for proper verification of pictures for authenticity, sub-inspector Sarnjit Singh, in-charge of the challaning branch, said operators are present at the traffic lines for the purpose.
“The pictures are analysed to make sure they are not fake. Many times the officials ask the senders further questions. Only when we have verified the authenticity, a TVIS is issued,” he said.
Offences that get most often reported are jumping the traffic signal, stopping the vehicle on the zebra crossing and driving two-wheelers without helmets. According to sources, lakhs of pictures have been sent to the traffic police since the inception of this initiative, and 40,400 people as regular contributors. One such contributor, businessman Baldev Singh, has sent around 11,000 pictures since January 2017. For this he was awarded by the ex-DGP on April 27 this year.
The social media handles can also be used for reporting shutdown of traffic lights and jams caused by waterlogging. Women can use them to report harassment too.
First Published: Jul 30, 2018 11:31 IST