Motorists have been overpaying for the ‘services’ they are availing, data from traffic records reveal

It’s a familiar experience for most. You receive an e-Challan, go to an eSeva centre and pay the amount specified in the challan plus an extra service charge of Rs. 35 as directed by the counter operator. Since the underlying assumption is that ‘you are guilty, so you pay up’, most motorists never question why they have to pay Rs. 35 extra.

However, the breakdown given by the traffic officials show that motorists have been overpaying for the ‘services’ they are availing. Take for instance the ‘printing and delivery charges’ of inland-letter-sized e-Challan which costs Rs. 15, whereas the Postal Department charges just Rs. 2.50 for the same.

If you thought that the difference is paltry, with a whopping 50 lakh e-Challans raised since year 2006, the ‘printing and delivering’ charges to be collected for e-Challans alone amount to Rs. 7.5 crore.

“Printing on both sides of an A4 size paper costs Rs. 2. Even if we consider colour printing, with the volumes involved, the cost of printing should not be more than Rs. 4,” P. Sudarshan Reddy, a motorist observed.

Being a government department, traffic police can also negotiate with the Postal Department for a rebate as e-Challans are being delivered within the city limits. Instead, motorists are being taken for a ride, he said.

Other components of the service charge too beg for an answer. For instance Rs. 10 per e-Challan, collected as police user charges, go to the government coffers, whereas that amount is meant to be used for ‘running and maintaining’ the e-Challan system. Traffic officials admit that they are currently managing the system out of their own budget and have not received any portion of these charges from the government.

AP Technology Services, on the other hand, collects Rs. 5 for ‘maintaining’ the software, hardware and other consumables required for generating e-Challans.

Motorists also shell out Rs. 5 for availing eSeva services to pay the challan amount at their ‘convenience’.

This charge will be waived for those paying through new PDAs or net-banking option being provided in traffic police website, officials said.

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