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Cash crisis cuts traffic drive fine haul to half

LUCKNOW: Currency crisis due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has taken toll on the ongoing special traffic drive that is carried every year in November. Number of challans issued this year were less than half issued last year because people could either not pay fine on the spot citing lack of change, or offered old notes. Police personnel said those committing bigger or repeating offences were penalised and asked to pay at traffic police lines later, while those with minor offences were let off with a warning. Till November 29, 5,938 challans were issued and over Rs 6.06 lakh was collected as fine. Last year, 12,764 challans were issued throughout the month and total fine collected was Rs 10.55 lakh. Normally, during the traffic month, police carry out drives and issue challans every alternate day, but this year only two such drives were carried out in the entire month. In most cases, those committing minor offence like driving without helmet or seat belt were let off with just a warning. Only those who could not produce relevant papers of the vehicles were booked. ASP (Traffic) Habibul Hasan said the purpose of taking fine on the spot was defeated because of demonetisation as many violators were unable to pay in Rs 100 notes and offered Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 demonitised notes. “We allowed offenders to go if their reason appeared genuine and after taking their details a warning them strictly,” he said. In some cases black films on car widows were removed and owners let off. Challans were issued mainly in cases where more than one rule were violated, as in people not carrying relevant papers or driving recklessly. Those who misbehaved with police were also booked. Traffic circle officer Awadesh Pandey said, “We usually collect Rs 4 to 5 lakh in a month from fines but during traffic month we try to enforce fines more harshly and make our presence strongly but this time we were done in by the currency crisis. Businessman Prabhakar Pathak, who was challaned for wrong parking near a confectionery store in Hazratganj on November 20 said, “You withdraw money standing endlessly in queues and then queue again to deposit fine. Why can’t police evolve an online wallet or a better system to deposit fines,” he said.

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