LAHORE: Learning nothing from the past experience, the Lahore traffic police again seemed helpless in managing the traffic during the T-20 cricket matches being played between teams of Pakistan and England in the city on Friday.
Traffic mismanagement and long queues of vehicles were witnessed in the surroundings of the Gaddafi Stadium, causing immense suffering to motorists and other people.
The worst traffic mess hit Gulberg and its surrounding areas where hundreds of commuters got stuck on roads for hours, many of them lashing out at the authorities concerned for the poor traffic management.
Eyewitnesses say the Gulberg’s all major roads and streets remained clogged for hours, where a large number of people, including families, patients in ambulances and others, who had nothing to do with the cricket match, were struggling hard to reach their destinations.
The traffic situation was particularly bad at the Kalma Chowk, Garden Town, Gulberg’s Main Boulevard, M M Alam Road, Zahoor Elahi Road, Hussain Chowk, Firdous Market and the adjoining roads.
Some motorists, who got stuck in the traffic mess, say it took them two to three hours to cover the distance they would otherwise cover in half an hour, blaming it mainly on the mismanagement on part of traffic police.
The wardens seemed least interested in regulating the traffic, they complained. Many traffic wardens were seen manning the barricades erected to close the roads leading to the Gaddafi Stadium where the second T-20 cricket match was being played.
Local traders alleged the traffic wardens were not discharging their core duty of diverting the traffic to alternate routes, already communicated to them by senior officers anticipating the rush on city roads.
In the absence of any guidance by traffic police, motorists had to take random decisions and were seen lost in already packed narrow streets in different areas. Similarly, the roads mentioned in the proposed traffic plan as “alternate routes” were also full to the capacity due to the negligence of wardens.
Similarly, all the diversion points at the Centre Point, Kalma Chowk Underpass, Barkat Market, and on the Ferozepur Road were completely choked with traffic, while wardens mostly looked aloof.
The spokesperson for city traffic police, however, claimed wardens were “trying their best” to ensure smooth flow of traffic. He added that the number of wardens deployed for traffic management had been increased to 1,000, while the SPS and DSPs had been directed to ensure their presence on the roads for the implementation on the traffic plan.
Following the complaints of traffic mess, he said, Lahore Chief Traffic Officer Muntazar Mehdi visited various spots in Gulberg area, issuing necessary directions to the officers on duty.
The spokesperson said all traffic wardens had been directed strictly to man diversion points to save motorists from inconvenience.
Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2022