KARACHI: In order to avoid massive traffic gridlocks this Ramazan, residents of Karachi can now adjust their radio frequency to FM 88.6 and decide what route would be best suited to their destination.
The Sindh Traffic Police started the test transmission of its own FM radio station on July 9 and plans to run it for at least three weeks. FM 88.6 aims to keep its listeners posted about traffic jams and diversions due to political or religious gatherings and other incidents, such as accidents and road blockades for dignitaries, which could pose problems for the commuters.
Along with traffic updates, the station will also provide Ramazan-appropriate entertainment to its listeners in the form of naats, qawwalis and recitation of the Holy Quran. The radio host, however, can announce the traffic update at any time.
“The main purpose of this radio station is to inform people about the traffic situations in different parts of Karachi,” said the Traffic Additional Inspector General Zakir Hussain.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Hussain explained that the presenters of the shows will also create awareness about multiple traffic rules, such as the use of helmets for motorcyclists, use of indicators and the importance of lanes.
“The presenters will also advise commuters on diversions in case of violence, protests and other unforeseen incidents which could cause delays.”
Traffic Police Assistant Deputy Inspector General, Karachi Dr Qamar Rizvi told The Express Tribune that the test transmission will continue for at least three weeks. “The test transmission is from 8am to 6pm but eventually, we want it to be round-the-clock,” said Rizvi, adding that the entertainment would also include English, Urdu and Hindi songs post-Ramazan.
Multi-purpose radio station
According to Rizvi, the project had been in the pipeline for a long time and just recently had been handed over to the traffic police by the information technology department. When asked about traffic updates from other parts of Sindh, he said that expanding the station’s services would be considered once it was properly up and running.
The radio station’s studio and its office are located at the central police office and the transmission is currently being run by private presenters and some staff members of the police department. “Right now we’re in the initial stages but with plans to gradually expand the station, we will bring in experienced people and modify our transmission according to people’s suggestions.”
He emphasised that the station will also broadcast interviews of academics and popular personalities and ask their opinions about traffic. “FM 88.6 will also transmit weather reports, information about natural disasters and will take live calls during the transmission to listen to peoples’ problems and give solutions,” he said, adding that the traffic police will also conduct inquiries based on the complaints they receive through the radio station.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.