KARACHI: Saturday night once again became a nightmare for citizens as thousands of vehicles, including ambulances and motorcycles, were stuck in long queues in an unrelenting traffic pile near Drigh Road, due to repair work of a railway track before Natha Khan Flyover.
Commuters again complained about being uninformed.
A press release from the commissioner’s office, released Saturday night, stated that Karachi’s main artery, Sharae Faisal will remain closed from near Natha Khan Bridge to Jinnah International Airport on Sunday from 1am to 1pm. However, the road was only partially opened even until 6pm on Sunday.
Commuters were advised to take the alternate route from Gulistan-e-Jauhar to Pehalwan Goth or the Korangi Industrial Road via Shah Faisal Flyover to reach the Airport.
The repair work was supposed to be carried out last week but was postponed owing to the sudden transfer of then commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui. This was second time the road has been closed in the last two weeks. Earlier, on January 2, the opposite track of the same road was closed for repair work of the railway track from 11pm to 4pm the next day.
Nabil Tahir, a resident of Shah Faisal Colony, told The Express Tribune that extremely poor management on part of the traffic police has worsened traffic conditions. He said no signage and cones were placed on the roads to inform the public about diversions. “Merely informing the public through television is not enough,” he said. The driver of a Chippa ambulance, who was stuck in the snarl-up, said traffic was clogged only due to police mismanagement. “Look at the motorcycles, they all are gathering at the wrong way and there is no traffic police to stop them,” he pointed out, adding that signage must have been placed at the diversions along with traffic cops.
According to a Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) engineer at the construction site, Mehmood, the delay was due to Pakistan Railways, which was supposed to begin work at 11pm but started after 2:30am, mainly because the traffic police failed block the road on time.
The major portion of the repair work was to be carried out by Pakistan Railways as it was their responsibility to repair the track, he said. “We are only carpeting the road,” he said, adding that the road would be open before 6pm, which was supposed to be open by 1pm.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Railways divisional superintendent Nisar Ahmed Memon said the work was not delayed as such. “There was a technical issue in the alignment of the railway track,” he said.
East traffic police SP Syed Qamar Abbas Rizvi said more than 60 traffic cops were deployed on the roads. At every diversion, he said their staff was present.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2016.