The provincial government has forwarded a proposal to the federal government seeking authorisation for all banks across the province to be able to collect traffic fines, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Currently, traffic fines are received at the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Pakistan Post only. However, a summary was sent to the chief minister by the City Traffic Police suggesting that a mechanism be set up for the convenience of drivers to deposit traffic fines at other bank as well.
The summary sent to the chief minister said that around 0.25 million fines were issued every month in Lahore alone, which could only be deposited at the NBP branches and postal offices. It said that due to a large number of fines across the Punjab, and especially in Lahore, it was becoming difficult for the commuters and the bank to handle them. It said that most commuters came to Lahore from far flung areas to deposit traffic fines at bank.
The summary mentioned Section 116-A (3) of the Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1965, which lays down that fines can only be deposited at the NBP and at post offices. The Traffic Police sought an amendment in the Ordinance so that fines could be deposited at any bank.
After receiving the summary, Chief Secretary Nasir Mehmood Khosa had sought comments from Finance Secretary Tariq Bajwa who pointed out that State Bank of Pakistan Act 1956 provided that banking functions of the government belonged to the State Bank of Pakistan, being the sole banker. In accordance with the provision, Bajwa said, an agreement had also been signed among the governor, the State Bank of Pakistan and the finance secretary. He said the State Bank of Pakistan had to be part of any process to amend rules.
The chief secretary then forwarded it to the chief minister seeking permission to correspond with the federal government in this regard. The chief minister approved the plan a few weeks ago.
Deputy Secretary (Resources) Faisal Rasheed told The Tribune that the summary will be discussed in a meeting presided over by the federal finance secretary, scheduled in the next few weeks. He said if a decision was taken to allow commercial banks to accept the deposits, the agreement with the State Bank of Pakistan and the Federal Treasury rules will be accordingly amended.
Chief Traffic Officer Dr Usman Anwar told The Tribune that the department was hopeful that the proposal will be accepted. He said the proposal was sent keeping in mind the problems a common man faced while standing in long queues to deposit their fines. He said if the amendment was made, a large number of people will be given a relief.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2012.