KARACHI: Breaking fast amid blaring horns and noisy traffic is not an unusual occurrence for the residents of Karachi. The already worsening traffic situation is further aggravated during Ramazan, forcing many to break their fast stuck in seemingly never-ending queues of vehicles congesting the city's roads.
Furthermore, it seems that there is no respite for the citizens when it comes to the misconduct of traffic police officials, who have made it a norm to demand bribes. To put it briefly, commuting in Karachi is as inconvenient as it gets. Here, rush hour continues through most of the day.
With traffic mismanagement plaguing the metropolis, All Karachi Traders Union Chairperson Atiq Mir counted it as one of the major issues faced by Karachiites, along with lawlessness, street crimes and encroachments.
Speaking to the Express Tribune, he pointed out that the existing road network needs a major overhaul, as the number of vehicles continues to rise and roads across the city are seemingly getting narrower by the day, to accommodate the heavy traffic flow.
Particularly speaking about the issues faced by traders due to traffic mismanagement, Mir told the Express Tribune that a considerable amount of traders' time and money is wasted when they get stuck in prolonged traffic jams, which are frequently witnessed in Karachi.
Mir demanded that the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah take measures to ensure only officials having sound technical knowledge and administrative skills are appointed to serve in the traffic police. He further told the Express Tribune that the anti-encroachment operation has not proved to be as effective in improving the flow of traffic in the city and in fact, has increased the influence of land grabbing mafia, claiming the ownership of different roads and footpaths.
However, as the city continues to crumble under the growing weight of heavy traffic, all hope is not lost.
According to Mir, the situation can still be improved if immediate steps are taken to remove encroachments, repair dilapidated roads, complete the construction of new roads and bridges, provide parking facilities to the citizens, set up designated areas for pushcarts and most importantly, a comprehensive plan is devised to increase the capacity of the existing road network.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2019.
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