• 30 of 61 traffic lights functional in KDA areas while 33 of 44 operational in DHA, cantonment boards
• Body formed to use Lyari Expressway for heavy traffic
• Baqar orders action against smoke-emitting vehicles

KARACHI: Traffic authorities informed caretaker Sindh Chief Minister retired Justice Maqbool Baqar on Saturday that a whopping majority of traffic signals in the sprawling metropolis were out of order.

The CM was given this information during a meeting held to review Karachi’s traffic issues and to remove all bottlenecks to ensure a smooth flow of vehicular traffic on city thoroughfares.

Justice Baqar was told that Karachi has a road network of 9,500 kilometres where around 6.5 million vehicles, including 4.05m motorbikes, are plying.

The total number of traffic signals in the city is 135 — including 44 in areas falling in the jurisdiction of cantonment boards and Defence Housing Authority — and more than half of these signals are out of order.

According to a press release issued after the meeting, the CM was told that of the 91 signals in the metropolis (areas under the Karachi Development Authority) only 30 were functional and 61 were out of order.

However, situation is comparatively better in DHA and cantonment board areas where 33 of the total 44 signals are working.

The CM directed the Traffic Engineering Bureau of the KDA to get all its signals repaired and submit recommendations if more signals are needed.

Traffic bottlenecks identified

DIG-Traffic Iqbal Dara also informed the CM about several bottlenecks in the smooth flow of the traffic.

These include S. M. Taufeeq Road, the upward ramp of Liaquatabad Flyover towards Karimabad in front of Al-Karam Square; Shahrah-i-Usman Rimz in front of Siddiq-i-Akbar Masjid at Nagan Chowrangi; Tariq Road at Ittehad Signal in front of Ghani’s Uniform.

The press release stated that 11 bottlenecks were identified which could be rectified by widening the roads. The issue of traffic jams on and around University Road was because of prolonged delays in the completion of the Red Line corridor.

The CM directed Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab to personally visit the areas and resolve the issues.

He directed the Karachi commissioner and police to launch a vigorous crackdown on illegal parking mafia in the city and prosecute the culprits involved.

He directed that no agency would designate a parking slot without consulting the traffic police.

Restrictions on heavy traffic

The meeting also discussed the issue of movement of heavy traffic during daytime in the city. The CM was told that movement of heavy traffic was restricted in the city area during daytime from 6am to 11pm. However, there was a dire need to promulgate Section 144 of the criminal procedure code on the movement of heavy traffic in the city during day hours except the vehicles carrying essential commodities.

It was pointed out that the solution to the traffic challenge may lie in the initiation of the projects like Mauripur Expressway and the redesigning of the Lyari Expressway for the movement of heavy transport.

At this, Mayor Wahab said that the Lyari Expressway was designed and built for heavy traffic and this was endorsed by its consultant in writing.

He said that heavy traffic should be allowed on the Lyari Expressway. The CM constituted a committee, to be chaired by the mayor and comprising DIG-traffic and KDA DG, to sit together and resolve the issues so that Lyari Expressway could be open for heavy traffic.

The meeting also discussed the establishment of the Karachi Road Transport Authority (KRTA) on the pattern of RTA Dubai.

When the issue of environmental pollution was raised, the chief minister directed caretaker Environment Minister Arshad Wali Mohammad to activate the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) to impound all smoke-emitting vehicle.

The meeting was informed that during the current year, the traffic police had issued 1.62m tickets for violation of traffic laws and recovered Rs836012m.

The Sindh police chief informed the CM that an amount of Rs273.4m was needed to disburse rewards to traffic policemen. At this, the CM directed the finance dept to release necessary funds for traffic police.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2023

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