Peshawar traffic police desperately need wardens

Updated November 12, 2019

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Sources told Dawn that the traffic warden unit was set up in 2015 for efficient traffic management in the city, while 451 posts of assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs) were sanctioned with the appointees to work as traffic wardens. — Shahbaz Butt/File
Sources told Dawn that the traffic warden unit was set up in 2015 for efficient traffic management in the city, while 451 posts of assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs) were sanctioned with the appointees to work as traffic wardens. — Shahbaz Butt/File

PESHAWAR: The city traffic police are facing a shortage of 356 traffic wardens due to a long delay in the filling of sanctioned posts.

Sources told Dawn that the traffic warden unit was set up in 2015 for efficient traffic management in the city, while 451 posts of assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs) were sanctioned with the appointees to work as traffic wardens.

However, only 95 ASIs have so far been hired by the KP Public Service Commission, which has yet to process the selection of the rest despite being reminded many times.

Over 100 ASIs are working with the unit on deputation.

The details show that the city police had raised the issue of the appointment of 356 ASIs time and again with the police’s high-ups saying the delay in the hiring of wardens was making it difficult to manage the city’s chaotic traffic.

Official says KPPSC reminded many times to advertise 356 positions but to no avail

In a letter written to the KP police chief on Oct 21, 2019, the city police chief noted that the traffic police struggled to regulate traffic due to an acute staff shortage.

It said in order to address the shortage of ASIs, the appointment of 356 personnel might be processed for launching the new e-payment system of challan in the provincial capital.

Also, the chief traffic officer wrote to the city police chief on Sept 4, 2018 that the shortage of the personnel hindered efforts to maintain smooth flow of traffic in the capital.

He said the staff shortage had been prevailing since the traffic warden unit came into being four years ago and thus, hemorrhaging the unit’s routine operations.

A senior police official told Dawn that after the creation of city traffic warden unit in 2015, the criterion for traffic warden was designated to be an ASI.

He said since the ASIs had to be recruited through a competitive selection process by the public service commission, they could not be recruited by the department on its own.

He said the police department issued several reminders to the KPPSC to advertise the posts, but to no avail.

“Despite the issuance of reminders time and again, these posts continue to lie vacant,” he said.

The official said only 89 ASIs had so far been recruited by the KPPSC in two phases.

He said the traffic warden service badly needed the personnel as in the absence of own trained staff, it had to get personnel from other districts, who turned out to be largely incompetent and not trained in managing traffic.

“We need professional and trained traffic wardens,” he said.

The official said a traffic warden should be above the rank of the head constable and should be a qualified and educated.

He said in Punjab, the rank of traffic warden was sub-inspector but in KP, a warden was designated as the ASI, who should join the service after passing a competitive examination.

Details available with Dawn show that the city traffic police’s sanctioned strength is 1,867 but its current strength is 1,278.

A single traffic warden in the provincial capital has to look over 671 vehicles in the city with a population of over 4.62 million. Around 0.7 million vehicles enter and leave the city daily.

The city also has 85,000 rickshaws but only 35,000 of them are registered. The rest are operating without permit.

The bourgeoning fleet of the city’s transport includes 115,000 motorcycles, 85,000 motorcars, 5,558 taxis, 1,400 delivery vans and 676 buses.

When contacted, chief traffic officer Kashif Zulfiqar confirmed that his department was facing an acute shortage of personnel to smoothly manage traffic.

He said his office had issued several remainders to the KPPSC for the filling of sanctioned warden posts.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2019