RAWALPINDI: With Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman due to arrive in the city tomorrow, the Rawalpindi City Traffic Police (CTP) has devised a comprehensive traffic plan wherein traffic arriving from Lahore will be denied entry into the federal during the day.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad Deputy Commissioner has refuted reports of a city-wide blockade and closure of cellular services in the city.
According to the plan, additional personnel of traffic warden will be deployed at key intersections and at diversion points to control the flow traffic while the special branch of the Rawalpindi Traffic Police (RTP) will distribute special passes for on-duty traffic wardens.
Heavy traffic heading to the federal capital from Lahore and other cities will be prevented from entering Islamabad a little before Rawat. However, heavy traffic will be allowed to enter the federal capital late at night.
The capital’s entry point from the Grand Trunk (GT) Road will also be closed for the public. Traffic on GT Road will be diverted on to the arteries of Jhelum Road while vehicles can enter Islamabad through Mall Road or Murree Road.
Koral Chowk, Shakariyal, Khanna Pul, and the Faizabad interchange will remain closed for regular traffic as well. Further, traffic coming from Airport Road will be diverted to Rawal Road via the Ammar Chowk overhead bridge.
Further, traffic coming from Golra Mor will be diverted towards the IJ Principal road through Pirwadhai. Citizens can access the capital and IJP road through the Double Road.
In case anyone is stuck or has questions about the closures, Rawalpindi Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Muhammad Bin Ashraf said that citizens can call the traffic police helpline for information.
He added that the CTP was looking to minimise the difficulties faced by the public during the VIP movements and that wardens have been directed to report to their duties sharply at 5am on February 16.
Meanwhile, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat on Thursday refuted rumours that the federal capital will be locked down for the arrival of the Saudi Crown Prince or that cellular services will be suspended during the visit.
"Everything will be normal," he remarked in a tweet on microblogging site Twitter. The deputy commissioner clarified that only red zone and some adjoining areas will be restricted for entry for a limited time.
To a question on social media, the deputy commissioner stated that reports of no traffic movement ahead of Kak Pul, and complete restriction for heavy traffic in the federal capital and suspension of airspace were not true. To a suggestion by a Twitter user, he said the traffic plan for Islamabad would be issued on Friday.
He, however, confirmed that the Metro Bus service will not enter the red zone and its adjoining areas on Saturday and Sunday. However, the roads will remain open, he said.
CNG cylinder ban
The CTP has approached the Rawalpindi district administration to place a complete ban on the installation of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) cylinders in school vans.
Rawalpindi CTO Rawalpindi Ashraf has written to the district administration demanding a complete ban on gas cylinders.
Further, the CTP has asked the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to prepare special route permits for school vans along with implementing a fitness certificate system by the concerned authority after proper inspection of the vehicles.
The CTO said that since last year, the police have registered more than a hundred cases of unstandardized CNG cylinders in public transport vehicles and school vans.
He explained that cylinders blasts and fires in vehicles in recent years has resulted in the loss of numerous precious lives, including children.
Ashraf added that the CTP will soon launch a large-scale operation in which violators will be arrested and cases will be registered against the drivers as well the owners of the vehicles after the district administration bans CNG cylinders.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2019.