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KOHAT: Thirteen illegal bus stands operating in bazaars have been a cause of traffic congestion in Kohat city creating inconvenience for pedestrians and traders.

Adding to the woes are the electricity and telephone poles erected right in the middle of the roads and on the footpaths.

Fazal Naeem, a spokesman for the district police officer, told Dawn on contact that it was the duty of the Road Transport Authority (RTA) and the district administration to prepare a concrete plan to shift the bus stands outside the city to overcome the traffic congestion in the city bazaars.

He said four years ago the administration had enforced a red zone policy, under which, the transporters were made to pick passengers outside the bazaars at allotted places. But, the people protested the decision, thus it was withdrawn.

Mr Naeem said it was not practically feasible to shift all the bus stands outside the city because no suitable place for available to accommodate such a large number of vehicles. “If moved to far-flung areas the commuters coming from villages will have to spend Rs60 to Rs70 extra on rickshaws to reach the bazaars and then return. He admitted that the people had to live with the mess.

The illegal bus stands are operating in Teri, Alizai, Khaidizai, Kachai, Khaghazai, Darra Adamkhel, Bostikhel, Jalal Sarai, Dhodha, Shahpur, Boraka, Sorgul, highway square, Rawalpindi interchange.

The Sorgul bus stand had been given space by the cantonment board but it was operating without obtaining NOC from the RTA.

Traffic police’s chief warden Arab Jan explained that there were more than 4,000 rickshaws, 7,000 pickups, 17,000 motorcycles and 4,500 cars plying on the city roads. He said for managing such a heavy traffic, there were only 15 ticketing officers with 45 staff.

He said traffic licences and wardens had been allotted only to legal bus stops in Lachi, Piraon, old bus stand, Kacha Pakha and Bandajaat. He added that hundreds of handcarts and makeshift shops in front of the shops had added to the problem.

The traffic police spokesman said with the introduction of the warden system some respite had been achieved, but there was much to be done.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019