City Police Commissioner attempts to clear air on traffic checking drives
Mysore/Mysuru: Following a severe public backlash and outrage over the death of a two-wheeler rider while escaping a Police documentation check drive at Hinkal last week, the City Police seems to have learnt some lessons and have decided to rely more on technology to catch offenders rather than physical checks.
Coining new words like ‘friendly’ and ‘transparent policing’, ‘tourist-friendly Police’ and ‘voluntary checking points,’ the City Police Commissioner Dr. Chandragupta told reporters yesterday that the intention of the Police is to save lives and prevent accidents and not to set and achieve targets to fill the State coffers.
At a Meet-the-Press organised by Mysuru District Journalists Association (MDJA) at Pathrakartara Bhavan in city yesterday, Dr. Chandragupta, who was criticised by elected representatives for remaining inside the office and not being proactive, clarified that they have to enforce rules in certain areas of the city to avoid accidents.
13 black spots
There are over 13 black spots (an accident black spot or black spot is a place where road traffic accidents have historically been concentrated) inside the city and there are many junctions where traffic from villages enter the main roads. “Here we have to enforce over-speeding and drunken-driving rules to prevent accidents. Let me clarify here that we are not levying fines to meet the target. We want to save lives,” he said.
At the interaction, many reporters told the Commissioner that while he is clarifying that there are no targets set, the ground reality is different as the main duty of Policemen of all Stations seems to achieve the fine collection target set.
Reporters told the city Top Cop that from early morning till late in the night, Policemen are found at every street corners lurking behind trees, buildings and traffic signal posts, targeting motorists.
More reliance on technology
To this, Dr. Chandragupta replied that henceforth four to five teams checking vehicles on a single road will be banned. “Fines will be collected only by ASI rank and above officers and not the Policemen below the ASI rank. Also, we will reduce physical checking and rely more on technology,” he said. Action will be taken if ineligible Policemen did so and they would be shifted out of traffic enforcement.
“From 2013 till date, fines have not been paid for over 36 lakh cases and audit team had objected to this and told us to speed up the collection process. On an average, every day 5,000 cases are booked in Mysuru and of them only 500 are by Policemen on the roads with 4,500 being booked at Automated Traffic Command Centres. We are not harassing the violators but have given them various options to clear the fine through electronic payments, wallet payments and KarnatakaOne and MysuruOne Centres. Still, fines are not being paid. In the coming days, ‘Voluntary Checking Points’ will be set up across the city so that violators can clear the pending payments,” he said.
Commendation letters clarified
Clarifying on the allegation that the Police Commissioner has given commendation letters to the Policemen who were involved in the Hinkal accident where one person died due to Police overzealousness, Dr. Chandragupta said that commendation letters have been given only to the drivers of Sanjeevini Ambulance and the Police rescue teams who reached the spot despite a huge mob presence and who were able to shift the injured to the hospital. “Despite the mob attacking on-duty traffic Policemen, other Policemen rushed to the spot in such a volatile situation and shifted the victim and injured to hospital. The commendation letter was intended to boost their morale, appreciating their commitment to duty knowing the risks,” he said
“The incident is unfortunate and in future such checking drives will be avoided. A probe is on to ascertain who is at fault — whether the Police or the two-wheeler riders or the truck driver — and evidence is being collected. We are not manipulating the investigation to pin the blame on others,” he said.
On MLC A.H. Vishwanath’s criticism, he said, “He (the MLC) could have called me and clarified on this. I would have explained to him why I gave letters of appreciation.”
Probe is on
“Traffic Policemen had no role to play since they were checking vehicles 250 metres away from the accident site. Claims that the biker fell off after a Policeman threw a lathi to stop him from evading checking are far-fetched. The probe will be based on all the complaints filed in this regard and also what eyewitnesses saw. All versions are being looked into. The truth will come out. We will be in a position to narrate its account only after investigation,” he said.
No peak hour checking
“Henceforth we will avoid checking drives during peak hours. There won’t be vehicle checking in areas having high-traffic density. Checking would be conducted between 10.30 am and noon and 3 pm to 5 pm from Monday to Friday.”
“Weekends would be confined to collecting unpaid fines for traffic violations caught on camera. The respective traffic Police stations would announce schedule of checking in their limits and it would be confined to one particular violation — helmetless driving or insurance checking and so on. However, in all accident zones and black spots, the checking would be carried out as usual,” Dr. Chandragupta said.
Mysuru City Police Website domain name changed
The domain name of Mysuru City Police website has changed from mysorecitypolice.gov.in to https://mysuru citypolice.karnataka.gov.in/
The new website has been designed and developed by the Centre for e-Governance, Government of Karnataka.
Dr. Chandragupta said that the State Government had decided to overhaul the websites of different districts and Commissionerates in the State so that all of them had a similar template. Earlier, the websites had been put up locally and had been hosted by private agencies and hence prone to hacking. Now, all the websites of the Police Department look similar, he added.