A biker being fined for flouting traffic rules near Sujata Chowk in Ranchi on Sunday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Traffic violations pay, so will vouch Ranchi policemen, who have collected Rs 2.95 lakh in fines from 1,869 erring vehicle owners in just four days — December 6, 8, 9 and 10.
“The campaign against traffic violators began on December 6. We suspended the drive for a day to allow Muharram processions, and then restarted it. Till Saturday, as many as 1,869 people were caught violating traffic rules and Rs 2,95,670 was collected from them in fines,” a police officer compiling the related data told The Telegraph on Sunday, adding that those fined included media men and police personnel as well.
On December 8, a traffic policeman was fined after he was noticed riding a two-wheeler without a helmet by Assembly Speaker C.P. Singh.
Confirming the fines, officer-in-charge of traffic police station S.K. Singh said of the 1,869 violators, as many as 1,291 were caught riding two-wheelers without helmets, while 250 were booked for triple riding. The remaining 328 were guilty of other traffic offences.
The officer in-charge said more fines could have been collected if traffic police personnel had been out on the streets in full strength during the campaign.
“The fine amount is not much. It would have been several times more had we been able to depute policemen in all 52 posts around the city. While the sanctioned strength of traffic constables is 500 in the state capital, there are barely 200 of them around, which is enough for 25 posts. Also out of the 200 men, only 36 officers have the power to collect fines,” Singh added.
Superintendent of police (city) R.K. Prasad, who has also been given charge of traffic in the absence of a regular superintendent for the work, said the campaign would continue. “As the Assembly Speaker is also taking interest in the campaign, we have decided to continue with it to bring about traffic sense in the city,” he said.
The traffic personnel out on the road, however, seemed far from happy with the campaign. Speaking to The Telegraph, a constable said the main grouse was no part of the fine was being given as commission to the man on the road, unlike earlier. “The traffic police used to get 10 per cent of the amount collected as fine earlier,” he said.
Singh admitted the problem and said since January 2010, payment of commissions had been stopped. Of the 10 per cent of the fines given to the traffic police, six per cent went to the officers, and the remaining four per cent was for constables helping the officers. It was completely legal and acted as a motivation for traffic personnel during campaigns, which tended to become tiresome, Singh pointed out.
Capital resident Paulina Ekka, whose 16-year son was caught riding her two-wheeler with neither a licence nor a helmet, welcomed the campaign. “It will definitely help bring down the number of accidents in the city. Though paying a fine was not pleasant, it gave me the opportunity to teach my children not to drive a two-wheeler without a licence,” she said.