KARACHI: The Karachi traffic police are seeking more than Rs500 million from the amount of fines they collected during the past five years from citizens of the metropolis on account of violation of traffic rules. The police want to reward their personnel and acquire modern gadgets, it emerged on Sunday.

Recently, in a vigorous campaign the traffic police had not only fined hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists for not wearing helmets but also impounded their two-wheelers for traffic rules’ violations.

They said half of the 30pc amount was consumed for purchasing traffic equipment and the remaining was disbursed among traffic police personnel as reward for issuing challans against traffic rules violators.

With traffic management being a challenge for the authorities in the city, the traffic police appear to have become more aggressive than ever in only spotting motorcyclists without helmets, as they penalised more than 18,000 bike-riders and seized over 10,000 two-wheelers.

30pc ‘commission’ on fine income

They said that under the set rules 30 per cent of the total amount of the fines received through the ticketing system was meant to go to the traffic police. However, the amount has not been released since 2014.

“The amount pending since 2014 now stands at around Rs520 million,” said an official. “Half of that amount, or Rs260 million, has to be disbursed among the traffic police officials entitled to earn commission on ticketing traffic violators.”

The official said that it was a huge amount and recently the traffic police high-ups had approached the authorities concerned for release of the money. “The traffic police used to earn commissions by ticketing traffic violators and kept a small percentage of the fine. But for the last five years, they haven’t seen a penny of this amount.”

He said that whenever any campaign to reinforce traffic rules was launched people thought that they were penalised or challaned by the traffic personnel only to increase their share in the total amount of fine.

Terming it a “misconception”, he said the traffic police were not being rewarded for more than five years. However, he agreed about a common practice among traffic police officials that they were seen issuing tickets to the people by defying set rules.

“It’s true that under Section 116-A of the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965, a police officer not below the rank of head constable is authorised to fine traffic rules violators. But here we see that even those who are not authorised are issuing challans to violators,” he added. The ambitious helmet-awareness campaign for the safety of motorcyclists, which was launched by the Karachi traffic police earlier this month, had seen the law enforcers in all districts of the metropolis actively spotting and penalising the violators.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2019