KARACHI: Despite the instructions of Sindh governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan on March 22 to implement the Saddar bus re-routing plan and making Saddar Parking Plaza functional with effect from March 24, the tardy administration failed to implement the much delayed re-routing plan. The car parking plaza was also not made functional as illegal car parking in the area cannot be stopped.
On Sunday, March 23 a massive anti-encroachment operation was carried out in the area and a large number of traffic police deployed to guide the public transport about bus-rerouting; however, on Monday the public transport buses and minibuses were seen plying on the same old routes. Many of the removed encroachments were also seen re-emerged in the area, creating traffic jams and trouble to motorists, commuters and pedestrians as usual.
On March 22, in a high-level meeting in the Governor House, the Sindh governor was told that all stakeholders were agreed on the bus re-routing plan for Saddar Empress Market area. The meeting attended by Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Administrator Karachi Rauf Akhtar Farooqui and CPLC chief Ahmed Chinoy was told that the Saddar area would be made encroachment-free as an ‘icon’ for the whole country. The governor has ordered that the bus rerouting plan should be implemented from March 23, 2104, but the order could not be implemented, showing weakness on the part of administration.
As per the approve plans the routes of 46 buses and minibuses have been changed, barring entry of many of them in the area, besides banning all types of parking from Empress Market to Regal Chowk to clear this area from traffic jams. Under the proposed re-routing plan, all public transport buses coming from Jinnah Hospital side would be returned making a loop at Lucky Star. All buses and minibuses coming from M.A. Jinnah would not be allowed to enter Saddar and instead routed to Saeed Manzil direction. Moreover, there would be ban on entry of Qinqui rickshaws in Saddar area. There are 22 routes of wide-bodied buses, 19 of minibuses, 3 of KPTS buses and 1 each of coaches and UTS buses that pass through Empress Market Saddar area. Here public transport enters from five roads M A Jinnah Road, Rafiqui Shaheed Road, Dr Daudpota Road, Iqbal Shaheed Road and Mansfield Street.
If the Karachi administration manages to implement the bus re-routing plan of Saddar area, it would also help in introducing such plans for other busy downtown areas of Karachi. The citizens of Karachi have appealed to the Sindh Governor, Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, to take stern notice of non-implementation of the bus re-routing plan and ensure that the historical place and main tourist attraction of Karachi, Empress Market Saddar area of district South Karachi is free from encroachments and avoidable traffic jams.