LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Friday ordered the city traffic police to impose a minimum fine of Rs2,000 on the motorists violating the one-way rule on roads.
Justice Shahid Karim issued the order taking notice of frequent violations of traffic rules by motorists, while hearing multiple petitions regarding the environmental issues and the smog, in particular.
Lahore Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Muntazir Mehdi and the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (Tepa) submitted reports on the traffic situation in the city. The reports proposed that as a short-term measure, temporary barriers should be placed on the road cuts to ensure smooth traffic flow.
The judge directed the counsel for the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to ensure permanent road cuts on the roads to replace the temporary ones.
Asks govt not to transfer CTO without leave of the court
The judge further directed the Municipal Corporation of Lahore (MCL), LDA, Cantonment Board Lahore (CBL) as well as the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) to coordinate with the focal persons of the traffic police to check traffic jams and congestion in the city.
The CTO said the traffic congestion mostly occurred because of poor condition of the city roads despite reminders to the authorities. He said the roads remained in a state of disrepair, causing enormous difficulty for the vehicles plying there.
Justice Karim observed that the traffic blockage at any point in Lahore caused huge carbon dioxide emissions from the exhaust pipes of the vehicles.
The CTO told the court that a dedicated phone line already existed for the motorists to update or send information regarding any accident or traffic blockage in the city.
The judge directed the CTO to display the information regarding the dedicated phone line on roads permanently.
Mr Mehdi told the court that the motorists were usually not deterred by the meagre fines slapped on them for violation of traffic rules, especially the one-way rule.
At this, the judge directed that minimum fine for such violation should be increased to Rs2,000.
Advocate Abuzar Salman Niazi, the counsel for a petitioner, told the court that there were apprehensions that the CTO would be transferred due to his “good work”.
At this, Justice Karim observed that since sufficient steps were proposed and would be implemented in coming days on the Lahore CTO’s report, it was imperative that the officer should continue to hold the post to achieve tangible results.
The judge directed the government that Mr Mehdi shall not be transferred without leave of the court.
Advocate Sheraz Zaka, another counsel in the case, said the local government could be effective for remedial measures against the smog.
The judge adjourned further hearing till Nov 23 and summoned Lahore’s Lord Mayor Mubashir Javed, along with a report on the smog issue.
Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2021