Police reverts to cash to combat e-challan fine dip

The Asian Age.  | Priyanka Navalkar

Metros, Mumbai

The system is not faring as expected because several traffic violators are ignoring the e-challans that are sent to their cellphones.

Mumbai: One more cashless initiative fails to take off. The traffic department’s e-challan system of a cashless fine payment has seen a drop in collections from the earlier 85 per cent to 40 per cent.  To combat this, traffic cops are now stationed at various points in the city to catch hold of those motorists, who have repeatedly failed to pay their fines, and recover the fine amount in cash.

The system is not faring as expected because several traffic violators are ignoring the e-challans that are sent to their cellphones. Motorists complain that since it is a cashless procedure, they often forget to make the payment even after receiving an alert on their mobiles.

Joint commissioner of police (traffic) Amitesh Kumar, confirmed the dip and said that people still tend to follow the old-school system of getting a physical challan. “Now that we are nearing the completion of a year since the e-challan system was started, we have asked traffic cops to collect the pending payments if any, in cash, whenever they spot the vehicle on the road,” he said.

Justifying the going back to old ways, he said they have seen an instant increase of 35 per cent in recovery rate. He added, “The officers were earlier sent to the violator’s address to collect fines, but it is practically impossible to do it on a daily basis. Hence, every vehicle is stopped, and if it has been found to have violated any traffic rules and has fines pending, it is collected right away.”

With the introduction of the e-challan system in November last year, the Mumbai traffic police (MTP) had stop seizing the licence of traffic violators and instead, issued e-challans, which they were expected to pay via debit or credit card on the spot, or at the nearest Vodafone store.

However, since the department gave violators the liberty to retain their documents and only cough up a fine, they apparently took advantage of the facility, added a source.

Ankit Agarwal, a Khar-based software engineer said, “Old habits die hard, and if cash-loving people are asked to make online payments, they will avoid doing it and look for a way out. I myself paid an e-challan only after I received three of them.”