Dilemma of Karachi: Too many vehicles, too little traffic cops

KARACHI: Rapidly increasing of new vehicles, roadside encroachment, untrained drivers and lack of manpower with Karachi Traffic police are amongst the main causes of traffic jams in the metropolis, said DIG Traffic Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh.

DIG Amir said on the special directives of IGP Sindh A D Khawaja, a summary of recruitment of at least 6,000 constables has already been sent to the Chief Minister Sindh for approval. He said with their recruitment in Karachi Traffic Police Department, the dilemma of acute manpower shortage would be mitigated and it would help in ensuring a better traffic system. He said only 3,000 traffic constables and officials are working in the traffic department Karachi who are not sufficient to regulate vehicular traffic in the city properly.

At least 4 million vehicles in Karachi are registered with the Excise & Taxation Department Sindh while their number is being increasing by at least 900 with every passing day, which is alarming situation for all of us, the DIG told PPI. He regretted that only 32 percent of the drivers of these vehicles possess valid driving licences and rest of them are driving these vehicles without licences, violating traffic rules and regulations which also results in the traffic congestion in the city.

The DIG said the city’s road infrastructure presently could not accommodate such a large number of vehicles, adding at the same vehicles from the other provinces also enter the city on daily basis so there is dire need to draw a policy to stop the increasing number vehicles in the city on urgent basis or develop road infrastructure of the city proportionally. If this important task is further delayed, Karachi could become a non-motorable city soon, he warned.

Amir said the shortage of mass transit in the city is also causing traffic jams as the vacuum is filled with Qingqi Rickshaws, CNG rickshaws and other small dangerous vehicles including motorbikes.

The DIG said 70 percent of roads, service roads and footpaths have been encroached in Karachi by parking mafia, auto workshops, vendors and car dealers, which is causing crippling traffic jams in the city. He said due to encroachments on footpaths by vendors and car sellers, pedestrians are compelled to walk on busy roads amid fast moving vehicles, resulting in frequent road accidents.

He said for building a better mechanism of traffic in the city all concerned departments have to work under the same umbrella including Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Traffic Engineering Bureau, Sindh Building Control Authority and Transport Department Sindh.