Around 200 sharp traffic wardens wait to patrol the popular University Road of Peshawar, provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in their new uniforms with the colours of their outfits changed from blue to grey.

The idea of introducing new uniforms and rules for traffic police was approved by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak after a detailed briefing was given to the latter by IGP Nasir Durrani and SSP traffic, Wahid Mehmood, DSP Traffic Police Asghar Marwat tells Dawn.com.

The wardens plan to patrol University Road from Aman chowk to Karkhano market with 25 mobile vans and more than 50 bikes at their disposal. The patrolling will be guided by slogans to the effect of polite but firm policing, says Marwat.

He says the government also approved the induction of 679 fresh recruits, adding that the traffic wardens are being given proper training for dealing with road accidents aside from general traffic management.

Although the new uniforms are ready, the official launch is still awaited. The traffic wardens have been seen on three occasions wearing their new outfit during practice exercises, but the permanent shift is still awaited.

The delay has been caused allegedly due to officials postponing the official launch.

Wardens pictured in their new uniform. - Photo by author
Wardens pictured in their new uniform. - Photo by author

Improved experience?

Officials working with the city's traffic police say that the selection of the wardens has been given special attention particularly when it comes to public dealing.

A traffic warden who requested not to be named says that people had been complaining about the personnel's rude behaviour, poor attitude and the existence of endemic bribery in the system.

Hence, the new recruits have been trained to deal with violators efficiently, the warden says, adding that these mostly include people who often offer money to get out of a situation or create a scene.

Most of the wardens are from the traffic police department and are personnel who already look after the flow of vehicular traffic in Peshawar. Among their trainers are also traffic experts with experience of working on the Motorway and on major highways.

Apart from the renewed training of the wardens, the provincial government is also doing away with the old challan chit and replacing it with a computerised ticket. Moreover, four mobiles would also be patrolling the city and would be on a constant watch at all times.

Wardens pictured in their new uniform. - Photo by author
Wardens pictured in their new uniform. - Photo by author

What Peshawarites think

Ashfaq, a resident of the provincial capital, is of the view that the wardens' new look is professional and impressive when compared to the old uniforms.

But while the new training and uniforms have created a buzz of sorts, not everyone in Peshawar is as optimistic about the end result of the exercise.

For example, local motorist Ashraf Khan appreciates the effort put in by the provincial government and the traffic police department but he doubts that the changes will lead to any real streamlining of traffic flow in Peshawar which he says is slowly becoming unmanageable.

"The jam-packed traffic cannot be streamlined until the government builds new roads, underpasses and bridges as Peshawar has become crowded and over-populated,” he tells Dawn.com.

Wardens pictured in their new uniform. - Photo by author
Wardens pictured in their new uniform. - Photo by author

'Serious challenge for new recruits'

Another motorist, Farman Khan, says that the introduction of newly trained wardens is a good initiative but fears that the thousands of rickshaws and motorcycles on the roads and streets of Peshawar may end up posing as a serious challenge for the new recruits.

“Traffic here cannot be controlled until the officials give separate lanes and ways to rickshaws and motorcycles,” says Khan.

Although the continually increasing number of vehicles on the roads and streets of Peshawar has been posing a problem for the city's administration, the new training being imparted to the wardens in relation to public dealing, efficient methods of challan as well as fresh recruitment is likely to bring some relief.

Peshawarites however are already trying to assess how the revamped system fares with the 200 traffic wardens ready and on the roads even though some aspects of the new system and the latest uniforms are yet to be inaugurated.

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