Officers depute bodyguards for traffic duty in Dimapur
DIMAPUR, SEPTEMBER 18: Nagaland Government is losing lakhs of revenue every day in Dimapur district due to failure of the Dimapur Traffic Police to enforce the Motor Vehicle Act in toto in the district.
Minor/major traffic rules infraction is a regular affair in Dimapur district, particularly along the 4-lane Purana Bazaar-Chumukedima route, but traffic authorities here either look the other way or do not impose the stipulated penalty as notified.
There is also lack of transparency and accountability on the number of traffic challans issued or fines realized from violators, as the amount of fines imposed not only varies but the amount written in the challan do not reflect the actual amount of fines collected.
A top Traffic official in the district inadvertently revealed to Nagaland Page that sometimes even after a challan for, say Rs 300, is issued to a violator, the enforcing personnel accepts Rs 100 from the violator in consideration of his/her inability to pay.
When pointed out that this mismatch might result in leakage of total fines collected by the enforcers, the official simply said, “No, it will not happen.” The officer, however, failed to answer how the authorities calculate the actual amount of fines collected by enforcers on the street, when the amount written in the challan and the actual fines paid do not match.
Apparently realizing his slip, the official requested Nagaland Page not to disclose his identity.
On Friday, a Traffic official had issued a challan to a traffic rule violator (for taking the wrong lane) under Section 179 (1) (up to Rs 500 fine) and Sec 177 (up to Rs 100) of the MV Act. The total fine for the violation (as per the amount given in the back of the challan) came to Rs 600 but the violator was fined only Rs 300.
When the violator asked the enforcing authority the amount of fine, he replied, “Rs 300, but Rs 200 is also okay.” The violator, accepting his infraction, paid the full amount of Rs 300 fine as quoted by the enforcing authority.
Surprisingly, the Traffic cop on duty issuing the challan was accompanied by 2 non-Traffic Police jawans, who later turned out to be bodyguards of a Traffic official, as revealed by the Traffic Police officer in another slip.
When asked why Traffic authorities in the district are not collecting the stipulated fines as mentioned in the challan, thereby causing a loss of Rs 300 per challan to the Government exchequer, the official lamely replied that these are compoundable offences and the fines charged can vary.
The challan issued on Friday, which is in possession of Nagaland Page, has the serial number 40, which means a minimum of 40 challans were issued today in a particular junction, and the fines collected at the rate of Rs 300 per challan comes to Rs 12,000. But if the stipulated fines (Rs 600) were collected, the total fines from 40 challans would have been Rs 24,000; thereby causing a loss of Rs 12,000 to the cash-strapped Government. With the number of junctions along the 4-lane route stretch, the total loss will be in terms of lakhs even in a month.
And as admitted by the official, if some violators had paid just Rs 100 or Rs 200 on a Rs 300 challan issued, the fines collected reaching the Traffic Police office would be much less.
On the issue of first offence and second offence, the official said the Department has no mechanism till now to detect second offenses, so all offenses are considered as first offense, which is another loss of revenue for the Government.
According to sources, there is acute shortage of manpower in the District Traffic Police establishment but officials refused to comment. Officers sending their bodyguards (non-Traffic jawan) for roadside traffic duty is self-explanatory.
With only 15 legal crossings along the whole stretch of the Purana Bazaar to Chumukedima 4-lane route, most commuters have to drive at least a kilometer or more to change lanes. While it is an offense to drive on the wrong lane, it also cannot be overlooked that in almost all village junctions along the 4-lane route, there is a break in the road divider near each village junctions, some 15-20 meters away, which most commuters prefer to take despite being illegal instead of driving a kilometer or so in the opposite direction to change lanes.
And this break in the divider, which is an illegal crossing, is where more often than not 3-4 Traffic police will be stationed to issue and collect challan (perhaps another reason for the shortage of manpower in the Department). Asked the reason behind the break in the road divider near each village junctions, where traffic cops are regularly seen issuing challans, the official blamed the road construction company for the same.
When asked if it would be a better option to depute 1 Traffic personnel in each junction to direct commuters the right way instead of 3-4 personnel to issue challan to violators some 15-20 meters away in every junction, considering the shortage of manpower in the Department, traffic officials had no answer.
In fact, such a measure would not only solve the manpower problem in the traffic establishment, but would also earn public goodwill for the Department, which is at an all time low.
(Page News Service)