Despite numerous efforts, the state government struggles to collect ₹2,429 crore in unpaid traffic fines from 42.89 million violators. The transport department has now sought central government approval to link these fines, known as e-challans, directly to the bank accounts of motorists.

The E-Challan Journey

Since January 2019, over 75 million motorists have been fined via e-challans for offenses like over-speeding, lane-cutting, and running red lights. These fines total ₹3,768 crore, but only ₹1,339 crore (35%) has been paid as of March 2024.

 

How Will It Work?

If approved, the bank account linked to a motorist’s Fastag and motor insurance payments will also be connected to their outstanding e-challans. “This will enable us to recover the outstanding amount whenever the motorist tops-up their Fastag or pays vehicle insurance,” said a transport department official.

The Need for Central Approval

Since the Banking Act falls under central jurisdiction, the state needs approval to implement this plan. “We have sent the proposal and expect a positive response,” the official added.

Targeting Private Car Owners

Most of the unpaid fines are owed by private car owners. Recovering fines from public transport vehicles is easier, typically done during their annual permit renewals. “This isn’t possible with private car owners,” noted another transport department officer.

Current Recovery Efforts

Regular drives by traffic police have yielded limited success. Police at toll plazas attempt to recover unpaid fines, and insurance companies have been instructed not to renew policies until penalties are paid. “Linking bank accounts will help us fully recover the fines,” the officer said.

Election Pause on E-Challans

The recent Lok Sabha elections and upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections have temporarily halted the issuance of 4 lakh challans, worth an estimated ₹40 crore, on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. This enforcement will resume post-assembly polls in October.

 

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