Karachi: Frequent traffic jams on University Road, especially during rush hours have irked citizens; however, civic authorities are unable to take remedial steps to improve the situation.
Two important sections of this road from Expo Center to NIPA Flyover, and Karachi University Silver Jubilee Gate to Safoora Chowrangi have been in very poor shape for years. Every year, huge amount is spent on repair of these sections; however, saving a shoddy patchwork no serious repair of this road has ever carried out. Big potholes on these sections often result in traffic accidents.
Encroachments on this road, specially on New Town-Old Sabzi Mandi and Mosimiyat-Safoora sections and illegal parking at New Town-Old Sabzi Mandi, Hassan Square-NIPA Chowrangi and Mosimiyat-Safoora sections is another main hindrance, creating huge traffic jams. The road from Old Sabzi Mandi to NIPA remains clogged every day from 5pm to 9pm, wasting precious hours and fuel of motorists. However, the civic administration and traffic police have yet to summon courage to remove these illegal encroachments and wrong parking.
Recently, this issue was also raised on the floor of Sindh assembly by Muttahida Quami Movement MPAs and Sindh minister of local bodies Agha Siraj Durrani had assured to look into the matter. The University Road is considered one of the main arteries of Karachi and hundreds of thousands of vehicles use this road, but the civic administration and traffic police are not taking proper steps to keep this road encroachment free. There was a proposal by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) to merge the service roads of this thoroughfare to widen the main road. In fact the service roads and footpaths of many roads including the University Road are used by encroachers.
The worst example in this regard is the New M A Jinnah Road, where extra-wide footpaths are made just to facilitate the car showroom dealers. The width of these footpaths is more than the length of cars and car dealers display their vehicles for sale on these footpaths. These car dealers also occupy two to three lanes of New M A Jinnah Road, creating sever traffic jams.
The malpractice has been continued for years. Though the civic authorities fully knows about this issue, but due to political pressure they do not take action against the encroachers. Previous commissioner of Karachi had announced to introduce charged parking system on the New M A Jinnah Road, but withdrew the decision before it was implemented. However, if illegal encroachments of New M A Jinnah Road are removing it would certainly help in easing the traffic load from the University Road.
Social and political circles have been demanding urgent repair, expansion and proper upkeep of the University Road. Former MPA Muhammad Yunus Barai said big universities including Karachi University, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology and Usmania Institute of Technology of Hamdard University are situated on this road.
Important offices like the Civic Center, Expo Center and Accounts and Audit Complex are also situated on the road, besides Askari and Safari parks visited by hundreds of thousands of people daily and improvement of the University Road would certainly benefit all of them. He demanded of the government to order immediate repair/ reconstruction of the road, besides its necessary expansion and modification. Moreover, illegal encroachments and wrong parking on this road should be ended so as to facilitate the citizens.