June 18, 2019

Excise dept sent data on ‘untraced, cloned’ vehicles for action

News Source: Dawn

LAHORE: The Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) has provided data of 40,000 “untraced vehicles” to the higher authorities over fear of potential threat to public safety in the city.

The authority also blacklisted over 100 “cloned cars” after identifying the original registered vehicles, requesting the police to help trace and impound them. This development was crucial in the wake of security threats and the rising crime rate in the city, an official told Dawn.

The authority issued e-challans to 400,000 vehicles, including cars and motorcycles, in the last six months or so. The data about the untraced vehicles and cloned cars surfaced during the same period, he said, adding that cloning was a practice of illegally using a vehicle identification number belonging to a legally registered car to hide a vehicle’s identity.

The authority obtained data of several “cloned” cars bearing the same registration number, model, colour, manufacturing company etc making it almost impossible for officials to access them over traffic violations.

The official said the 40,000 untraced vehicles (mostly cars) came to light when drivers committed traffic violations, but the authority could not access their details through the database. It dispatched e-challans to residential addresses of the violating motorists, but found the details fake or incomplete. The authority high-ups got alarmed when the data of 40,000 vehicles could not be verified in the record of the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department, he added.

The official called it a major blunder on part of the excise department, saying the officials entered “fake or incomplete” addresses of vehicle owners while recording data in haste.

The PSCA took up the matter with Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Amjad Javed Saleemi. It also submitted suggestions to the excise department to revamp its system and register vehicles in the name of their owners with help from the National Database and Registration Authority.

The IGP later informed the chief secretary about it and suggested taking emergency measures to avoid any mishap. In a letter, the IGP asked the chief secretary to engage the excise department authorities to dig out facts and address the issue, he added.

Moreover, the authority gathered figures of 50,000 motorcycles that were being used as motorcycle rickshaws in the city. Originally, the vehicles were registered as motorbikes with the excise department.

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