Thiruvananthapuram : It seems the state government is more interested in traffic violations going up rather than roads becoming safer. The reason is that traffic violations are a major source of income for the state coffers.
While granting nod to a proposal of the state police for a Rs 180-crore Integrated Digital Traf-fic Enforcement System to be implemented in public-private-partnership (PPP) model, additional chief secretary (home) Subrata Biswas has directed the police to ensure not only that there is no fall in the state's revenue from fine but also that it increases.
"It should also be ensured that the fine revenue presently coming to government should not go down in this process and there should be some increase in fine revenue," said the order issued on October 5. The bidding criteria for selecting the private partner would be on the basis of fine revenue sharing.
The state government has been receiving around Rs 100 crore annually from fine collection from motorists by the police and the motor vehicles department. Though 50 percent of the fund has to be allotted to Road Safety Authority for road safety activities, there has been widespread allegation of the funds being diverted by the government for other purposes.
"The objective of strengthening traffic enforcement should be to bring down traffic violations and thereby making the roads safer and bringing down accident rates. It sounds embarrassing that the government itself directs the police to ensure that the fine from traffic enforcement is increased rather than setting goals for bringing down the number of violations," a retired IPS officer said.
The Integrated Digital Traffic Enforcement System mooted by the state police is aimed at 'touch-less traffic enforcement' by setting up of automatic number plate recognition cameras, cameras to detect helmets and red light violations, automatic detection of speed violations and other traffic violations across the state. It also involves automated challan generation to the offenders and digital payment.