Let us face it. Motorists don’t follow the rules in India. Jumping red lights, riding triples on bikes, and a host of other offence are some of the ways in which rules and regulations are regularly flouted.
If you are a motorist on Indian roads, at any time, half of the 20 vehicles next to you will be breaking some rule in some way. In Kolkata, the story isn’t any different from other metros, and the Kolkata Traffic Police has had enough.
Now, if you ever see a cop in Kolkata pointing his camera phone at you, understand you are in trouble. In the world of traffic transgressions, visual evidence is king, and the cops are doing away with manual citations, replacing them with text messages. The shift to paperless citation in the Kolkata police force has started with familiarising the traffic rank and file with the Citation Case Entry app.
Giving a ticket, in the conventional sense, leaves a lot of ambiguity, and speculation. Many offenders don’t receive the challans until much later if they do receive them at all.
There are constant arguments, with errant motorists giving excuses like the car wasn’t even there, where the violation occurred. Now, photographic evidence will leave no room for error.
The mechanism is simple. The cop in question will snap your vehicle, record your registration number, and enter the details into an application, that will, in turn, generate a text message, and send it to your mobile number.
This way, traffic violations are caught immediately, and since there is substantial photographic evidence, no room for excuses.
Sergeants, assistant sub-inspectors and constables have been asked to download the ‘Citation Case Entry App,’ and are currently being trained on how to use it. The cops need to multi-task, i.e., manage traffic, take pics and register the offender’s details in the app, all at the same time. A Rs 1000 reward was given to 5 sergeants across the 25 traffic guards, to encourage e-challans.
The headquarters of the Kolkata Police is located in Lalbazar, and this is where all the data received on the app is collected by the traffic computer cell, and an e-challan is sent to the mobile number of the vehicle owner. The entire process takes 5 minutes. You might still be in transit, on the way to your destination when karma, in the form of a challan catches up.
This initiative has yielded results. From 19th February to 5th March, around 8,666 vehicles have been prosecuted. That’s approximately 577 violations a day.
Undoubtedly, a large number of offenders believe that traffic lights are akin to Christmas lights!
Until the project started, all e-challans were only issued to those who had broken rules where CCTV cameras were present. Now, the net is wider, and rule-violators have a slim chance of getting away. The move by the Kolkata Police has managed to tighten the noose around the offenders and lessen the burden on the environment.