City development works, encroachments blamed for traffic ills
By Imran Ayub
KARACHI: While the provincial and local governments have come under fire for the recent accidents that claimed more than half a dozen lives in a week, the city`s traffic police blamed the civic administration for not taking them `on board` before launching about two dozen development projects that cause severe bottlenecks in the smooth flow of traffic and oftenresultinfatalaccidents, it emerged on Monday.
In a recent letter to the Karachi commissioner, the traffic police came up with a list of more than 45 intersections and roads where it was helpless in controlling vehicular movement, which led to traffic jams and sometimes also fatal accidents.`It is stated that at present 22 development projects in this metropolis are simultaneously going on and causing enormous traffic issues on the roads,` said the letter written by the DIG Traffic to the Karachi commissioner, copies of which were also sent to the principle secretary to the chief minister and the inspectorgeneralofpolice.
`It is pertinent to mention here that the local administration has never taken the traffic police on board before startingthe said projects, nor provided alternative routes for traffic. Ultimately, a lot of difficulties are being faced by the traffic police in regulating the vehicular traffic on the roads.
Of the 22 spots where development projects have been causing a traffic mess, five are in Centraldistrict, four each in East and Malir, two each in West and Korangi districts. The remaining four projects are going on in the City district of the police`s organisational structure, according to the traffic police.
Karachi`s traffic woes which have always remained a key civic issue of the city came under the spotlight recently when in a short span of one week, half a dozen people were killed in accidents on a same portion of the under-construction University Road.
On Feb 3, two women were killed and another injured in an accident. Later on Feb 9, an unidentified man and three female students of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (Fuuast) Rabia Batool, Amna Batool and KiranShehzadi were killed when a bus overturned at a stop near Baitul Mukkaram mosque.
Amid strong criticism of poor planning for the development projects as well as a pathetic public transport system in the city and severe mismanagement and incompetence of the traffic police, the police authorities were defending themselves by blaming the local administration for the recent traffic mess.
`Apart from the 22 development projects, there are 26 choking points in the city where encroachments have made traffic management almost impossible, said a senior officer, citing further details of the DIG Traffic`s letter.
`After a thorough study and multiple attempts to clear these choking points, it has emerged thatit`s beyond traffic police`s authority and they have failed every time they moved for it. The authorities which are responsible for solution include the area police, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Defence Housing Authority, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Sindh Building Control Authority, cantonment boards, provincial transport department and the commissioner office.
According to him, the 26 choke points are on portions of Sharea Faisal, M.R. Kiyani Road, Chand Bibi Road, Yaqoob Khan Road, Agha Khan III Road, Dr Dawoodpota Road, Abdullah Haroon Road, Mansfield Street, Preedy Street, M.A. Jinnah Road, Nawab Siddiq Ali Khan Road, Business Recorder Road and S.M.