State Wants to Link E-Challans to Motorists’ Bank Accounts to Recover Fines

State Wants to Link E-Challans to Motorists' Bank Accounts to Recover Fines

State Wants to Link E-Challans to Motorists' Bank Accounts to Recover Fines

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Traffic police issuing e-challans for violations such as speeding, lane-cutting, and jumping signals.

With an enormous unpaid e-challan amount of ₹2,429 crore from 42.89 million traffic violators, the state government has asked the central government for permission to link these fines to motorists’ bank accounts. Over the past five years, only 35% of the e-challan penalties have been collected.

Since January 2019, over 75 million motorists have been fined through e-challans by traffic police using handheld devices and CCTV networks. These fines total ₹3,768 crore, but only ₹1,339 crore, or 35%, has been paid by March 2024. E-challans are issued for violations like speeding, lane-cutting, and running red lights.

Despite many efforts, the state government has struggled to collect the outstanding fines. This led the state transport department to ask the central government for permission to link e-challans to bank accounts. An official explained, “The bank account linked to the Fastag and for paying annual motor insurance will be linked with the outstanding e-challans. This will help us recover the outstanding amount whenever the motorist tops up their Fastag or pays their vehicle insurance.”

Since the Banking Act falls under central government jurisdiction, approval is necessary. “We have sent the proposal recently and expect a positive response from the centre,” the official added. Another transport department officer mentioned that most unpaid fines come from private car owners. “Recovery from public transport vehicles is easier and done during their annual permit renewal,” he said. “This isn’t possible with private car owners.”

Despite regular efforts by traffic police, expected results haven’t been achieved. “Police at toll plazas regularly recover outstanding amounts by coordinating between two plazas once the amount is detected,” the officer said. “We’ve also coordinated with insurance companies to not renew policies until penalties are paid. Once bank accounts are linked, we expect full recovery of the fines.” Due to recent Lok Sabha elections and upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections, the issuance of 4 lakh e-challans with an estimated penalty of ₹40 crore on the 25-km ghat section of the Mumbai-Pune expressway has been halted. A senior traffic police officer explained, “The drive started to reduce accidents caused by overspeeding and other violations. However, due to instructions from political leaders to avoid unrest, challans will be issued only after the assembly polls in October.”