Monday, April 15, 2013

Campaign to create awareness of traffic rules launched

The traffic police department launched a campaign in the city on Monday for creating awareness about traffic rules.Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Traffic Abdul Khalique Sheikh said the 13-day ‘Traffic Awareness Campaign 2013’ would continue till April 28.

“Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan and it is also the country’s hub of industrial and economic activity,” he said, adding that the volume of traffic had increased manifold in the metropolis in the past two decades.

The city is spread over 3,500 square kilometers and the length of its roads and streets is 30,000 kilometres. The length of roads with marked lanes is190 kilometres, and the total static traffic duty points are 970.

The total number of registered vehicles in Karachi is about 3.14 million and the number of vehicles increasing per day is 800 on average. The number of heavy and light vehicles entering the city daily is about 13,000 and the estimated number of commuters is six million.

Speaking at a media briefing, the traffic DIG said the manpower ratio to the numbers of vehicles and population was low.

“The total working strength of the traffic police is 3,349, while the number of registered vehicles is about three million, which means a ratio of 1:1,119. The city’s population is about 16 million, with its ratio to the traffic staffers standing at 1:5,971.”

Sheikh said the volume of traffic was more than the capacity of roads, and there was inadequate deployment of staffers due to a shortage of manpower. Other problems compounding traffic problems were encroachments, lack of parking places, illegal intercity and provincial bus terminals, damaged roads, development works, roads under construction, and excavation of roads and footpaths by civic agencies without prior notice and coordination with the traffic police, he noted.

Sheikh said most accidents took place due to negligence, reckless driving and speeding, unfamiliarity with rules, mechanical failures on major thoroughfares, defective traffic engineering, bad road conditions, inadequate pedestrian facilities, encroachments, lengthy court proceedings and a slow response to emergency.

To resolve the issues, he said, the traffic department had decided to adopt concrete measures. He pointed out a Command and Control Room had been established at the CPO, Karachi, 198 cameras installed at 40 important intersections, 10 main roads declared model roads with zero tolerance for violators, and 170 enforcement officers deployed in two shifts.

Car patrolling on important roads, i.e. Sharea Faisal, Korangi Road, Sunset Boulevard Road and Mai Kolachi Road, had been introduced and a vigilance team deployed to check the working and any irregularities committed by traffic field staff, he said.

Apart from that, traffic helpline ‘Rehnuma-1915’ is working round the clock and the minimum fine has been increased from Rs500 to Rs2,000 for different violations.

The DIG traffic said that for better traffic management they had made some suggestions, which included a mass transit system and the construction of roads on both embankments of the Malir River from the Malir bridge upto Khayaban-e-Ittehad, and as well as an elevated expressway from the West Wharf to the Northern Bypass. Parking Plazas in commercial areas like Saddar, Bolton Market, Tariq Road and Clifton have also been proposed. 

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