It is not at all shocking to know that the Traffic Police has fined half of the population of Goa during the last year because they way they implement the traffic regulations deploying in all the cops in all nooks and corners across the state roads it is meant to be that way.
Although Mumbai is a bigger metropolitan city compared to tiny little Goa, if you compare the deployment of Goa Traffic Police to Mumbai, you will be shocked to know that more than 5 times of the traffic cell in Goa is active issuing the challans compare to Mumbai.
On every major road junction, you will find a fleet of traffic police waiting to catch the traffic violators. According to the Economic Times, Goa Traffic Police have prosecuted around 7.74 lakh traffic violators in 2018, which amounts to more than half of the state’s population of 1.5 million, according to statistics released by Director General of Police Muktesh Chander.
Addressing a press conference on Monday in Panaji, the senior officer also said that it was “absurd” to attribute a drop in tourism footfalls to Goa due to harassment of tourists by traffic police personnel.
According to Mr Chander, there has been a visible increase in the numbers of traffic offenders in 2018 compared to the previous year. “There has been a significant increase of 48 per cent in the prosecution of traffic offenders as compared to the corresponding year. Notably, the Goa Police prosecuted 7,74,578 traffic violators and collected fines amounting to Rs 9.19 crore (in 2018),” a statement released by the DGP said.
He refuted the allegations levelled by the Travel and Tourism stakeholders that the fall in tourism was due to the harassment of traffic police. Chander said the Motor Vehicles Act makes no distinction between tourists and local and there had been no harassment from police.
“There is nothing which says that foreigners are exempted from the Motor Vehicles Act in India. Is there a law by the Tourism Department anywhere that (says) they are exempted? So there is nothing like that. Everybody has to follow traffic laws,” he told the media.
The traffic police have a right to prosecute any offenders regardless of if he or she is foreigners or a local resident.
“And if a traffic officer is prosecuting a traffic offender, it does not matter whether he is a foreigner or whether he is a tourist or whether he is a local Goan. So there is no question of harassment.
He appealed to the people of Goa to obey the traffic rules to avoid the penalties. “People should obey traffic rules. That is all. Nobody will harass them,” Chander said, adding that if there were specific complaints of harassment, then the police would be willing to look into them.
According to Mr Chander, everyone including the opposition in the past have accused the police of harassment of especially those driving self-driven vehicles hired in Goa or travelling in vehicles with outstation number plates which are not true, he said.
Goa is one of the top beaches and nightlife tourism destinations in the country and last year attracted more than seven million tourists, out of which half a million were foreigners.
It may be recalled that the TTAG president Savio Messias said that Exorbitant rates of the taxis and over-enthusiastic policemen, who showed special interest in penalising the outstation vehicles led to jeopardise the Goa’s image as a friendly and feasible tourist destination.
According to the report published in the Incredible Goa portal, the reason behind the decline in tourist this year is said to be due to uncontrolled taxi fares and corrupt police of the state.