When the use of computers was initially introduced in different departments of the country, a general conception was that corruption would be minimized to a greater extent and also the records would be properly managed. But rarely would a nation defy the technology the way we do. The other day a friend of mine, who is an employee with PRAL (Pakistan Revenue Automated Limited) at a Motorway interchange, told me of how the FWO officials are depriving the country of the revenue and thus causing huge loss to the government exchequer. They do this in collaboration with the FWO and PRAL staff appointed at the interchanges, and sometimes the lower staff is even forced to cooperate.
All this is being done in a pretty technical way. Here is how they work. As you enter the Motorway you are given either a computerized card or a hand written slip (in case the computer is not operating). This card/slip contains the registration number of the vehicle and the station from which it entered the Motorway. On the exit point, the toll is charged with reference to the total distance traveled. Now, if the person on the Exit interchange is to earn some black money he would enter a wrong registration number of the vehicle (this has happened to me several times). Once a wrong registration number is entered, it becomes impossible to trace as to from where the particular vehicle actually entered. The employee charges you the correct amount but enters lesser amount in the data and gives you the slip where the word “Damage Card” is written. The same thing happens in case you are fined for over speeding. If the slip you are given contains lesser amount of fine mentioned than what was actually mentioned on your card/slip, you can be sure where the rest of the amount ended up. Another interesting thing is how you can exit the Motorway without paying the over-speeding fine. This, however, is not very common and is possible only if the person giving you the card on the entrance point is in league with you. The purpose is served by issuing two cards, in case you are fined for over-speeding you can exit on presenting the other card, ‘the magic card.’ At the end of the day, the total ‘recoveries’ are collected and the percentage is delivered among the team members. The higher the rank, the more the percentage. I’ve been told how a retired army officer (I wouldn’t mention the name) was able to buy a brand new Prado just within a two month time of his appointment at a particular interchange. Thanks to our worthy president who has employed so many of his comrades in different departments. The next time you travel through Motorway and get a “Damage Card” slip, you’d know which pocket the toll ended up.
Also contributed at The Pakistani Spectator