LAHORE: The city traffic police has come up with different initiatives to tighten the noose around the violators following the reports that the registered number of vehicles has swelled to 7 million and 40 percent of these are contributing to smog that has reached alarming levels in the provincial metropolis.

Of the total registered automobiles, 4.8m are motorbikes, while 2.2 million others, include cars, buses, vans, trucks, etc.

Interestingly, 0.3m unregistered motorcycle-rickshaws are also plying on the roads of the provincial capital, aggravating the traffic problems, particularly, inside the walled city.

On Friday, Lahore yet again witnessed a massive gridlock on different main arteries and in busy areas, including The Mall, Jail Road, Davies Road, in the surroundings of City Railway Station, Bhati Gate, Abbot Road, Lakshmi Chowk, outside the Civil Secretariat, Lower Mall, Gulberg Main Boulevard, MM Alam Road, Liberty Roundabout, etc.

Lahore again on top for poor air quality

The city’s most troubled area these days is Kalma Chowk, where construction work for the extension project is underway and hundreds of vehicles get stuck there almost daily due to closure of one side of the road.

Officials lament that Lahore’s traffic issues are aggravating with every passing day and one of the major reasons is the growing volume of vehicles.

Similarly, experts say that ‘peak hours’ for the city’s traffic have stretched to six to seven hours on various major roads, where most of the motorists have to waste their time and costly fuel to reach their destinations.

The matter has also been taken up in the Lahore High Court, where relevant departments are submitting their reports.

Meanwhile, the city traffic police have also launched many programmes in a bid to resolve this pressing issue.

In this connection, an official says, the traffic police launched a city-wide crackdown on the one-way rule violators from Friday, who are contributing to fatal accidents and traffic congestion. For the purpose, it has marked 200 ‘hot spots’ where most of one-way rule violations are reported.

The wardens on Friday lodged 34 first information reports (FIRs) against motorists for violating one-way traffic rule. Most of these FIRs have been lodged at Ghari Shahu, on The Mall-I, at Moazang, Bhekywal and such other spots.

They also issued fine tickets of Rs2,000 each to 310 other violators, the official says, adding that as it was the first day of the crackdown, the police mostly tried to educate the drivers and issued warnings to the motorists violating the one-way rule.

He says nearly 500 people, including bike riders, were simply warned by wardens for such violations, and were told they won’t be spared next time.

Similarly, the official says, the traffic police is all set to launch a massive operation against the heavy transport entering the city without fitness certificates. Most of the trucks, tractor-trolleys, heavy loaders, containers etc, are not meeting the fitness standards, he says.

These vehicles have become a major source of air pollution, particularly smog, in the city that was on the top of the world for its Air Quality Index (AQI) during the last couple of weeks.

He says nearly 15,000 heavy vehicles, including trucks carrying goods, daily enter Lahore. Of these, he says, nearly 2,000 enter from Shahdara, Thokar Niaz Beg and Kahna each. Reports suggest many of these vehicles cause pollution as they don’t have fitness certificates. The traffic police department has given Dec 5 deadline to such vehicles for getting certified by relevant authorities. After the deadline, the police will launch a crackdown on these vehicles, he says, adding special squads have been formed by traffic police and environment department for the purpose.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2022

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