TRAFFIC NORMS IGNORED – Fine collection up but execution lax

Many Cops Flout Rules, Don’t Book Violators
The city traffic police have reported an increase in fine collection from motorists due to traffic rule violations but implementation seems to be lax on the ground, with hardly any traffic police personnel manning roads.Implementation of steeper fines and penalties for violations started from Monday. Some offences, like riding a two-wheeler without a helmet, unauthorized entry, lack of papers, and jumping traffic lights saw fines double, even triple. A new bill being pushed through the Parliament will raise fines and penalties even more in the coming months. However, even as city traffic police officials claimed a rise in fine collection over the past few days, major intersections in the city saw little to no implementation of the upgraded penalties.

For instance, at the Koregaon Park-Aga Khan Bridge intersection, which often sees rampant traffic violations especially with motorists jumping traffic lights, traffic cops were seen sitting and chatting at a nearby tea stall.This while motorists were freely violating traffic rules nearby.

When asked about why the violators were not being brought to book, one of the police constables said, “It was raining outside so we were resting here. Otherwise, we have caught and issued receipts to quite a few vio lators since morning.“

Traffic police officials told TOI that on Wednesday, 3,233 violators were booked for general traffic offences, and Rs7.58 lakh fine collected.

As many as 263 two-wheeler riders were booked on Wednesday for riding without helmets, generating Rs1.31 lakh in fine. These amounts are many times higher than what the traffic department generated prior to August 8, when the new rules kicked in.

While the vast majority of the city’s population supports the hiked fine structure, they add that payment and implementation systems must be improved.

“Fines are often the only way to rein in errant motorists. I hope the move pays off in reducing some of the traffic snarls and accidents that we see each day as well as reduce bribery. But the police must have enough on-ground staff to implement the orders. Also, the police should have an effective tracking and easier payment system for fines so that people are assured that the amount goes into the state exchequer,“ said Rashmi Narayan, a resident of Vimannagar.

Others say that setting targets for traffic cops is detrimental to the cause of traffic management itself.

“The police force is a law enforcement agency and not a business. The practice of traffic bosses setting fine collection targets is counterproductive and demeans what the police force stands for. The police should ensure installation of appropriate signboards regarding traffic restrictions. But if people commit offences even after that, then the offenders should be made to pay the fine,“ says Murtuza Poonawalla, a resident of Camp.

Source : TOI