Amid the lockdown due to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, followed by travel and movement restrictions, one aspect that took a backseat in the mess was the e-challan system's recovery, causing a major backlog, which compelled police to come out with a campaign to collect the pending fines. According to a senior traffic police official, the e-challans increased drastically during lockdown with a number of motorists being fined for driving without safety gear and speeding, taking advantage of the clear roads, which will now be recovered in 'Operation All Out'.
The senior official said that payment or recovery of these e-challans from the violators are yet to make their way to the police department, thus increasing the rift. "What would earlier be close to 60 percent, the recovery rate now hangs somewhere between 35 and 45 percent. The falling recovery rate is due to many reasons, one of which is that users fail to receive e-challans as their contact numbers have not been updated with the Regional Transport Office (RTO). To counter that, the MTP now issues e-challans via speed post on the registered address of violators to ensure speedy recovery of fines," a traffic cop said
Recently, traffic police began a new campaign-- Operation All Out, wherein personnel are given a list of 28 violations to focus on, including riding without a helmet, signal jumping, lane cutting, drunken driving, among others, and will collect a fine immediately. "Since 'Mission Begin Again' came into force, a number of vehicles took on the roads, leading to a surge in violations. In the light of these events, our personnel have been instructed to check pending challan amounts per intercepted vehicle and ask the motorist to pay all pending challans,” a senior officer said.
The e-challan system introduced in the city three years ago had bid adieu to the manual clamp down on traffic violators and were sent an e-challan instead on their registered mobile number. As the e-challan amounts kept on increasing, only one-third of the violators ended up paying the fines, while the others just ignored it. In a desperate bid to recover the pending e-challans, the Mumbai Traffic Police had used different methods like using the postal service or collecting fines during random checks, only to fall back on manual crackdown.