Minibus roof-racks stay due to bureaucracy inaction

Karachi: The roof-racks of minibuses in Karachi are yet to be removed as the government officials are reluctant to irk the powerful transporter lobby. The Supreme Court of Pakistan during hearing of Karachi law and order case last year had instructed the provincial authorities to remove roof-racks from minibuses in Karachi but powerful nexus between private transporters and corrupt bureaucracy is still a main hindrance in implementation of the directive.

Overloading of passengers on the rooftops of minibuses and coaches is resulting in rising road accidents in Karachi, but the government is not taking action to remove the roof-racks of minibuses despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has already instructed the government to remove these dangerous roof-racks.

Previous day a passenger fell from the roof-rack of an overcrowded Sheeraz Coach near Mumtaz Manzil on the University Road. He was shifted by some fellow commuters to a nearby hospital. However, the coach resumed its journey as soon the injured passenger was shifted to hospital with no police intervention or registration of case. Such scenes are the part of daily life in Karachi where the public transport sector has been in shambles due to constant negligence on the part of government.

Hundreds of thousands of commuters travel on the roof-racks of minibuses braving chilly winds of morning and evening. Months ago in a meeting of Sindh transport department officials and private transporters it was agreed that the transporters would voluntarily remove roof-racks from their minibuses and coaches, but so far neither the transporters nor the government officials have taken any practical step in this regard to save lives and limbs of innocent passengers.

The ministers and government officials whenever asked about public transport sector in Karachi they always talk in ‘future tense’. They talks about their ambitious plans to change the public transport culture in Karachi albeit these plans may materialize in next five years, next two year, or at least by the yearend; however, these plans are never worked upon.

There is no official data about the deaths and injuries of commuters after falling from the roof-racks of minibuses in Karachi, but hospital sources say dozens of people receive major and minor injuries in such accidents daily in the city.

The deadly roof-racks of minibuses are not only a grave risk for commuters, but they are also a living proof of failure of administration. Millions of citizens daily see these minibuses with passengers perching on their roof racks and even any student of public administration and image-building psychology would tell these minibuses are the most vocal propaganda tools of bad governance of provincial administration. In fact these overcrowded minibuses are round-o-clock advertisements of failure of government transport department and traffic police.

The commuters demand immediate removal of the dangerous roof-racks of the minibuses and coaches in Karachi and taking strict action against transporters who are unwilling to remove these roof-racks voluntarily.

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