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KARACHI: Traffic jam at Jauhar More

May 20, 2006

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KARACHI, May 19: The traffic jam at around 8.30 on Friday morning on the Rashid Minhas Road-Jauhar More intersection was nerve shattering, despite the fact that traffic jams have become the order of the day in Karachi because of dug-up roads, lack of civic sense, and addition of thousands of vehicles to roads every month.

Blowing horns and attempts to break through the jam was understandable because many of those who were caught up were students appearing in ‘O’ levels and other exams, and there was every possibility that some of them might not have made it in time.

“The City School’s boy’s branch, off Rashid Minhas Road, is five minutes drive from my residence but when I found myself stuck up for more than 10 minutes in a traffic jam, near Jauhar More, I felt like crying,” said Hina, a student who was desperately looking at her watch and was yelling at the taxi driver to find a way, and if possible fly away.

Finally, her vehicle made it to the Rashid Mihas Road and the driver sped away. But hardly a furlong away, he had to apply the breaks because some desperate parents and students, whose vehicles were trapped in the jam on the track coming from NIPA, had decided to walk it down to the examination centre, which was not far away.

They were in such haste that they did not bother about the traffic. Luckily, there was no accident, although with every possibility.

The morning rush hour was understandable, but why was there such a mess? The immediate reason was that the traffic signals were not operating and the traffic police was initially absent from the scene. When they woke up, it was already a mess.

The other obvious reason was the absence of any cut between NIPA and Jauhar More to regulate traffic and enable commuters to find a convenient exit despite the fact that one of Karachi’s major amusement parks is located on this road.

The result is that all vehicular traffic gets bogged down at Jauhar More. The absence of a proper service lane on either side of the Rashid Minhas Road from Jauhar More to NIPA has also made the commuters’ life miserable.

Even where service lanes have been properly built from the COD to Askari-IV, commuters hardly benefit from it. They are encroached by car dealers and hotels that serve food on “takhts” on the roads to give it a traditional rural setting.

One would understand the desire of the city fathers for providing fast tracks with less chances of clogging, but is Rashid Minhas a free way or a main artery of the city, which must have proper exits, and under and over passes to avoid such a mess.

Although many of those who were appearing in exams at the City School were not denied entry, those who were travelling beyond, for their intermediate and other exams, must have cursed the city fathers.

Imagine how nerve shattering this 30-minute traffic jam was. It not only delayed office goers, it added to pollution and burning of fuel, which is becoming costly day by day.

What Hina felt and experienced, could have been the case elsewhere in the city where roads remain dug up for months.