Tuesday, August 3

Fine waiver scheme a hit with car owners

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More than 2.7 lakh cases have been disposed of in the past six days after the traffic-fine waiver scheme was introduced for the second time since 2018. The cops said that over 37,000 vehicle owners have responded so far and over Rs 1.5 crore was raised. In contrast, the first phase had witnessed the realization of only Rs 42,000-Rs 60,000 per day — around Rs 4.5 lakh — in the first week.

The present waiver scheme allows motorists to settle their pending traffic fines by paying only half of the amount. The scheme will continue till March 31, but cops said a decision on extension will be taken depending on the response.

According to an officer, they expect to cross Rs 2 crore in fine collection well before the end of the first week. “There is a set of queries that has been shared on social media platforms and we are trying to answer them. Simultaneously, we have decided to advertise about the scheme across the city,” said an officer.

“We have had a good beginning. With the weekend approaching, we are expecting a surge in online settlements and we are ensuring that motorists are aware of the scheme,” said joint CP (traffic) Santosh Pandey.

The data shows that, like the last time, a good number of private car owners are availing of the scheme compared to others. This apart, a large number of two-wheeler owners are also submitting pending fines in order to get them settled for half the amount.

“We had 80% compliance from private vehicle owners in 2018. This time, more than 70% of the 37,000 vehicle owners who have responded in the first six days are private car and bike owners,” said an officer.

However, people were told that the cases which have been sent to court cannot be settled under this scheme. Confusion cropped up regarding the compound cases which are also sent to court within 15 days of prosecution. “Only the cases which are pending in the traffic guards can be settled. If the case documents, along with the compound slip, have been sent to court, the case cannot be disposed of under the waiver scheme,” said Pandey. He suggested these could be settled at the lok adalats.

Besides the total number of people who paid fines offline, by visiting the 25 designated traffic guards and Lalbazar headquarters, almost double of that chose the online route — using the Kolkata police sites. Several citizens wrote back lauding the scheme and pointed out even those cases sent to court were getting settled online. “Good initiative by KP. Court cases are also getting paid. Hassle-free and don’t have to pay extra bucks to the middlemen,” wrote Rajeeb Bhattacharya.

While many saw this as an opportunity to clear all fines, others felt that not adhering to the police offer was foolhardy for the future. The cops have warned of severe action once the waiver period gets over — not only will the owners have to pay in full, but the police are even proposing to the government and insurance companies to accept a no objection certificate (NOC) from cops that will be mandatory for transfer of ownership, renewal of insurance certificate and renewal of pollution certificate.

 

Source: Times of India

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