RAWALPINDI: With the cricket test match set to start at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Wednesday, and closure of main roads as well as the metro bus service, gridlocks were witnessed on Murree Road and other arteries on Tuesday.

Due to the closure of 6th Road, where mostly private and public schools and colleges are located, students, teachers and staff of the institutions had to bear the brunt.

The road remained closed in the morning forcing people to reach their destinations on foot.

The district administration and traffic police of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have made joint traffic plans till Dec 15 and announced alternative routes.

Murree Road is closed from Faizabad to 6th Road till Dec 15 and vehicles coming from Rawal Dam Chowk are diverted to Islamabad Expressway via Kuri Road and Dhoke Kala Khan. This created a mess on the expressway.

Partial suspension of metro bus service adds to hardship of commuters

Commuters coming from Islamabad are diverted to Pindora, Pirwadhai and Chak Madad Khan which led to a mess on I.J. Principal Road.

Though the police deployed additional wardens to ensure smooth flow of traffic, they seemed incapable of handling the situation.

Due to the traffic jams, parents faced difficulties to pick their children from schools, especially at 6th Road, Iran Road and adjoining Sadiqabad and Satellite Town areas.

Taxi drivers refused to go to Murree Road due to the rush and mostly people were seen walking on the main road.

Mohammad Waseem, a commuter, said he went to 6th Road early in the morning to drop his children in a school but the road was closed and they had to walk to the school after parking the car on Murree Road.

He said same situation occurred in the afternoon.

“We are not against the cricket matches but no proper plan was made to regulate traffic. Roads are closed and people are facing hardship due to the poor planning,” he said.

Taxi drivers cashed in on the situation and charged more from people who wanted to travel between Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

“I had to go to Blue Area and the taxi driver charged me Rs300 extra saying he had to use a long route,” said Naveed Ahmed, an employee of a private firm.

He said there was a need to make a system where people would not suffer whether it is any government arranged function, a match or festival or any protest demonstration.

On the other hand, the Metro Bus Service was closed from 9am to 10:30am and from 4pm to 6pm. People were seen walking on Murree Road from Liaquat Bagh to Chandni Chowk to get public transport as there is no substitute to the metro service in this stretch of the road.

“It is strange the bus service has been suspended,” said Mohammad Tauqeer, a commuter who lives in Committee Chowk.

Mohammad Naseem, a commuter at Chandni Chowk, said the traffic police failed to devise alternative routes and diverted all traffic to I.J. Principal Road and Islamabad Expressway where a mess was created.

When contacted, traffic police spokesman Wajid Satti said alternative routes had been allocated for general traffic. People have been advised to use Islamabad Expressway and I. J. Principal Road instead of Murree Road from 6th Road to Faizabad.

Meanwhile, Pir Mehar Ali Shah-Rawalpindi Arid Agriculture University and other educational institutes will remain closed till Friday.

University spokesman Musa Kaleem confirmed that the university had been closed till Friday to save students from facing problems in reaching the campus.

However, he said, offices would remain open and staffer as well as faculty members would reach the university using the alternative routes.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019