Mumbai News

Traffic e-challan yet to be settled? Now, pay it in cash in Mumbai – Times of India

MUMBAI: Appalled at the high number of unpaid challans for traffic offences, the state approved payment of penalties in cash in Mumbai from Tuesday. The approval comes with conditions – for instance, cash fines are only to be handed over to an officer and not a constable. For four years until now, payment of fines in cash was not allowed.

The number of unpaid challans in state, till last month, amounts to Rs 602 crore. Over 46% of it (Rs 280 crore) are dues from Mumbai.
The Mumbai Traffic Police were the first in the state to adopt the e-challan system in 2016. About 5,000 cameras live stream footage to the traffic police control room where cops scan them for violators. An e-challan is sent to the violator’s mobile number based on his vehicle records. The system was made cashless as the department was stung too often in the past with complaints of constables demanding bribes. However, unpaid challans started to pile up.
Issuing of e-challans in other parts of the state began in 2019, but the police retained the cash payment option for rural areas where using debit and credit cards has not caught up. “Where payment of cash fines was allowed, recovery of e-challans was faster. Thane allowed cash payments last year but Mumbai and Pune were still following the cashless approach,” said superintendent (highway police) Sunita Salunkhe.
With Mumbai being given the nod to accept cash fines by the additional chief secretary, Pune too is likely to be next. But the state wants to minimise contact between motorists and the constabulary. Cash fines can be paid to an officer (sub-inspector rank and above) on the spot or at traffic chowkies. The online payment option still exists.
Once the city unlocks fully, cops will pursue offenders with unpaid challans more closely. “We intend to use an app that will screen vehicles at toll nakas and alert if a vehicle has unpaid challans. Our personnel can then ask motorists to pay up,” said BK Upadhyaya, additional director general, traffic.
A set-up operated by cops, will also come up to make calls to those who haven’t paid up challans.
The police would still need to tackle the issue of incorrect challans. Bandra resident Kapil Amberkar told TOI about a car owned by his kin being issued a challan when the photo (attached with the challan as evidence) is that of a scooter.