RAWALPINDI, Oct 7: The worst traffic jam was witnessed on Sunday, on all the main roads of the garrison city, especially the ones leading to Islamabad, including Benazir Bhutto Road, Peshawar Road and Railway Carriage Factory Road.
The traffic jams showed the inability of the traffic wardens to control the flow of traffic.
The commuters complained that the slow pace of work on 6th Road, Peshawar Road Expansion Project and traffic signals powered off by the traffic wardens were the main reasons for the traffic mess.
However, the wardens blamed the public meeting of Sunni Tehrik titled ‘Azad Pakistan Conference’ at Liaquat Bagh for the mess.
The unfortunate part of the traffic jam was that some puzzled motorists resorted to scuffles and some patients got stuck in the traffic.
Nadeem Shah, 28 years old patient, arrived at Benazir Bhutto Hospital’s emergency room with a head injury but no neuro surgeon was available.
The doctors advised his attendants to shift him to the District Headquarters Hospital. The patient reached the DHQ Hospital, after one hour thanks to the traffic jam.
“The condition of the patient was stable but he lost a lot of blood,” Dr Muhammad Zahid at the DHQ hospital told Dawn.
Another patient, Asma Faisal, 30, was brought to Holy Family Hospital with massive bleeding due to spontaneous miscarriages.
“The patient had to suffer a lot, arriving late to the hospital from Satellite Town, Block-D due to the traffic jam. The 15-minute route took an hour,” said Dr Muhammad Hassan at Holy Family Hospital.
“Traffic congestion causes wardens to switch off traffic signals and regulate traffic manually,” said Muhammad Kamran, a commuter.
Muhammad Naseer, a commuter on Benazir Bhutto Road said that the wardens had failed to manage the traffic load in the city, despite being good in numbers.
He alleged that many traffic wardens disappeared from the assigned points throwing the traffic into chaos.
He said that there were no alternative routes for Islamabad, except for I.J. Principal Road or Rawal Road as Peshawar Road and Benazir Bhutto Road’s section from Rehmanabad to 6th Road was blocked due to construction work.
Arshad Hussain, another commuter, said that the provincial government should ban rallies along the main roads and also create alternative routes for Islamabad.
“I have to go to my office in Islamabad at 4pm but it took me three hours to reach the destination in Blue Area,” he said.
Another motorist, Muhammad Akram, said that traffic jams had affected his budget because he had to consume extra fuel for a short distance.
He appealed to the Punjab government to take notice of the situation and improve traffic management in the garrison city.
Tauqeer Qureshi, a resident of Teli Mohallah, said that the long queues of vehicles on Benazir Bhutto Road and Raja Bazaar exposed the poor planning of Punjab government for constructing flyovers on Benazir Bhutto Road.
He said that the only solution to improve the traffic mess is to construct more roads to Islamabad.
When contacted, City Traffic Officer (CTO) Syed Ishtiaq Shah said that the rallies and protests on Benazir Bhutto Road forced vehicles to move at a snail’s pace. He said the manual controlling of heavy traffic by wardens did not prevent vehicles from snarling up on the roads.
He said that the slow pace of construction work at Peshawar Road disturbed the smooth flow of traffic causing traffic congestion.
He said that as a redemptive measure he had cancelled the weekly off of the traffic wardens to control the traffic.