DESPITE THE reduction in issuance of traffic challans during and post lockdown, due to COVID-19, the collection of fines by the UT police supersedes the total fine collected between March 24 and June 30 in 2019. The manifold increase in the collection of fine amount for the various traffic offences is attributed to the Amended Motor Vehicle Act, 2019, which was imposed in September 2019. The UT traffic police challaned 36 per cent less motorists in 2020 than the last year during the specific period, however, collected 15 per cent more fine than in 2019.
The traffic police statistics show that a total of 29,304 traffic challans were issued after the imposition of curfew in Chandigarh, between March 24 and June 30. A total of Rs 2,01,11,150 (Rs 2.01 crore) was collected as fine during the period. Ironically, between March 24 and June 30 in 2019, when things were usual, 79,754 challans were issued and Rs 1,71,92,555 (Rs 1.71 crore) was collected as fine.
Sources said, “The difference was highlighted when the figures for the specific periods of 2020 and 2019 were compared. The main reason behind the hike in the collection of fines is the Amended Motor Vehicle Act, 2019, under which the fines for various traffic violations were increased manifold. The amended Act was implemented in September 2019, with which the minimal fine fee of Rs 300 was increased to Rs 1,000.”
The comparative figures show that merely five people were challaned in 2020 during the specific period, while 1,790 people were challaned for drunken driving during the same time in 2019. The reason behind the reduction in issuance of drunken driving challans was the closure of liquor vends, pubs, bards and restaurants, during curfew.
The curfew that was imposed in Chandigarh on March 23 due to COVID-19, lasted till May 3 when unlock-1 was introduced, following which unlock-2 was announced on June 30. DSP Kewal Krishan said, “During the curfew, only people involved in essential services were allowed to use motor vehicles but several people violated this norm. We conducted strict challan drives and challaned 29,304 motorists. Indeed, the challan figures are less than 2019, but the fine was collected more than than last year.”
Before the Amended MV Act, 2019, came into the effect, challans for the highest reported traffic violations, including driving without helmet and without seat belt was Rs 300. It was increased to up to Rs 1,000 under the Amended MV Act, 2019. Drunken driving which attracted Rs 2,000 fine earlier, now attracts a fine of Rs 10,000.
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