LAHORE - The Punjab Safe Cities Authorities, for the very first time in Pakistan, has launched electronic-challaning in the provincial metropolis to identify and punish the violators of traffic laws by using modern surveillance system.

The initiative has been launched in Lahore as part of the multi-billion safe city project to monitor all major roads and crossings with the help of high-tech CCTV cameras. No less than 8,000 cameras have already been installed in various parts of the city for security surveillance.  Akbar Nasir Khan, Chief Operating Officer of the authority, told reporters that initially, the authority had been monitoring violation of red-light at 90 different points.  “In the first phase, at least 5,000 challans are being issued on a daily basis. These challans are being sent at (violators’) home addresses through Pakistan Postal Service,” Nasir Khan said while addressing a news conference at his office Friday. He further said that the penalty or fine amount is being collected according to the rates registered under the Motor Vehicle Ordinance 1965. “The rates are not increased yet. The violators will pay the fine amount as per the existing schedule,” he added.

According to officials, the safe city cameras work automatically in case it observes any violation of the red-light. “The cameras take at least four pictures of each violation. Then, an officer, sitting at the e-ticketing center, verifies the violation before issuing tickets,” they said. The city traffic police department also verifies the challans that are sent to the home addresses of violators through the Pakistan Postal Service.

Responding to a question, Akbar Nasir Khan said that the challans issued to violators in the first phase could be deposited in any branch of the Bank of Punjab before October 12. “All citizens are equal before the law and the citizens have liked this initiative,” the officer said.

The officer further said that the offenders would be blacklisted in case of repeated violations and the police department would also take legal action against such violators. He said that the Punjab Excise Department had already started updating the vehicles’ registration data to help the safe cities authority.  To another question, the CCO of the Authority said that during the night hours the challans and traffic signals would be activated only on the roads used by heavy transport vehicles.

He said that owners of the vehicles registered with the Punjab province would be sent challans at their homes address. The vehicles coming from other cities to Lahore will also be monitored and ticketed under the new system. “We are also in touch with the governments of other provinces to obtain data of registered vehicles,” he said.

Under the e-ticketing system, citizens have started receiving e-challans at their addresses registered against the vehicles’ IDs. This new system contains real-time violation graphics, type, and corresponding penalty numeric to be paid to branches of the Bank of Punjab. Similar arrangements are underway with the National Bank of Pakistan, along with various other deposit facilities.

This project is also an expansion of the Intelligent Traffic Management Initiative and is being executed from electronic ticketing center of the Punjab Safe Cities Authorities in coordination with the traffic police department. The back side of E-Challan depicts all the violations, fines, and relevant instructions.