KARACHI: Members of Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) and other transport unions decided to go on strike if the traffic police tried to impose the revised fines, during a meeting at the organisations’ office on Wednesday.
The new revised list of fines was announced by the chief of traffic police, DIG Abdul Khalique Shaikh, during a press conference on Monday. On Thursday, a delegation from Karachi Bus Owners Association and Muslim Mini Bus and Coach Owners Association raised the issue with DIG Shaikh.
KTI Chief Irshad Hussain Bukhari told The Express Tribune that DIG Shaikh will arrange for the transporters to present their case to Karachi’s commissioner and Sindh’s chief secretary. “We cannot accept a 1,000 per cent increase in fines,” he said, adding that a doubling of fines might have been acceptable but the suggested increase was considerably higher.
DIG Shaikh, while confirming the proposed meeting, added that the final decision would be made by the government. “We have also asked the transporters to strictly follow the traffic rules,” he said. “Buses cannot stop in the middle of roads to pick or drop passengers and they must be driven on bus lanes.” He also mentioned that he had asked the transporters to not give bhatta [bribes] to police officials when they broke the rules. “We want to eliminate the bhatta trend from the police,” he added.
A declining sector
The senior vice president of Karachi Bus Owners Association, Jamshed Khan Lashari, told The Express Tribune that they would be forced to shut down their businesses if the fines were implemented. “There is a shortage of public transport and not a single big businessman or company wants to invest in this sector because of the law and order situation,” he said. “The increase in fines will be a major blow to the business which is vanishing already.” Lashari explained that the association used to operate 4,000 busses in the city which have come down to a few hundred.
The new fines will be implemented after four days when the traffic police receive their new fine-books which are in the process of being printed.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2013.