No action so far to open new license branches

KARACHI: Due to acute shortage of License branches in the metropolis, the new drivers applying for their licenses in Karachi License Department may face difficulty, if the temporarily halted drive against unlicensed drivers is initiated again by Karachi Traffic Police in the city.

Currently only three branches are working in the city including Korangi Licence Branch, Nazimabad Licence Branch and Clifton Licence Branch.

These three branches are negligible for catering the needs of Karachi, a mega city.

After the action began against the unlicensed drivers a few months back in the city, the government had promised to open 18 new driving license centres at town level and four full-fledged driving license branches in remaining districts of the city but nothing could be done in this regard.

Though rush of applicants at these three branches is reduced as compared to last few months but it could be increased suddenly again if the enforcement section of Traffic Police Department restarts its abruptly halted drive against the drivers without licenses in the city.

Hundreds of thousands of new applicants could not get their licenses only because the department has no capacity and manpower to entertain their applications.

The official sources told that due to non-issuance of funds to Karachi License Branch from Sindh government, not a single new center could be established in the city.

As per the law, 30 percent of each licensee’ fee should be spent on the repair renovation of the driving lenience branches and providing facilities for the visitors including establishing new branches or centres if needed, and constructions of sitting area and other civic facilities in the running branches and centres, said the sources.

Another official source who requested for anonymity told that Karachi License Department’s former DIG Aftab Pathan had written official letters to the former IGP and other relevant departments to issue funds on urgent basis so that a large number of new driving applicants could be accommodated and facilitated in their towns.

Former DIG had also recommended two government’s vacant buildings for establishing new full-fledged branches – one in Saudabad area of Malir district and the other in the West district, but no initiatives could yet be taken by the relative departments of the government of Sindh, he said.

“There is a dire need to increase the capacity of the branches for issuing licenses as per the growth of city’s population; otherwise, the driving licensing system could be affected due to shortage of branches, which would directly and indirectly affect the citizens,” he observed.

In Karachi, about 80percent of drivers, especially motorcyclists, run their vehicles on the city roads and streets, though they do not possess valid driving licenses.