How many times did you go out without carrying your driving license or registration documents? Were you tense that you will have to cough-up substantial amount at the traffic police checkpoint?
If the increasing trend in the city is to be considered, you can get away with as little as Rs.50 for your ‘forgetfulness.’
While the traffic police is expending its energies and showing considerable enthusiasm in improving the enforcement of traffic rules, and in turn, reducing the traffic chaos and accidents in the city, a few ‘considerate’ policemen are making in the quick moolah on the field. And for these police, Rs. 50 has become a magic figure for all types of violations.
“I forgot to carry my driving license and was caught by traffic police at Prasad’s IMAX theatre. After a bit of haggling and pleading with the cops, they let me off after taking Rs.50,” an engineering final-year student Amruta V. said.
“The challan would have cost me about Rs. 250 along with some awkward questions from my parents. But I can easily manage Rs.50 out of my pocket money,” she says.
But while students like Amruta are being benefited by the leniency shown by the cops, the very incidence of police raking in the ill-gotten money is on a steady rise.
Areas like Necklace Road, Prasad’s IMAX, Begumpet and Chilkalguda crossroads are turning into hot spots for this type of operations held even under the supervision of Sub-Inspectors.
“As per law, a motorist has to carry valid documents and sometimes they do forget to carry them because of various reasons. In those circumstances, police have to issue a challan and ask motorist to pay the amount at nearest e-Seva centres. How can they demand money from motorists and still maintain that they are being considerate?” a software professional Rakesh Kumar questioned.
“I was caught thrice on the same day for not carrying my license and paid Rs.50 each time. It is the cops who first demand money and suggest that we can go Scot-free with less money. And if we ask for a challan instead, they usually book us for all sundry reasons that they can come up with,” he said.
The police version
But why do the police indulge in such acts in the first place? “There are people who try to cut some corners in all departments. The problem would be more as traffic police deal with public directly and have considerable discretionary power,” a senior police official said.
“Also the police who stand on roads and represent traffic police are often under-paid and under-qualified. We take strict action against persons who indulge in such practices as and when they come to our notice,” he added.
My article on The Hindu