Traffic dept gives in to demands, decides to regulate Qingqis

High court tells traffic police to let Qingqis be as long as they avoid main roads, highways.

Sohail Khattak/naeem Sahoutara October 11, 2013
Motorcycle rickshaws, Qingqis, are plying on the roads in the city despite a ban on them. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Giving in to the demands of Qingqi rickshaw owners, the Sindh transport department has decided to regulate this new mode of public transportation according to the motor vehicle ordinance.

"We are working with a team of NED university transport department to conduct a study to devise a plan to modify Qingqis so that they can be regularised," the provincial transport department secretary, Taha Faruqui, told The Express Tribune.

He clarified that the transport department had not banned Qingqis in the first place. The traffic police took action on its own, he clarified.

"We are also in contact with the excise and taxation department to get them [Qingqis] vehicle fitness certificate," he said, adding that the designs of Qingqis will be altered to make it safe and capable to be used as public transport. "The Qingqis will not carry more than five people and will have to follow standard sizes of tyres, height, seat designs, brakes and body balance."

The manufacturers of Qingqis will also be registered with the provincial transport authority and only registered manufacturers will be allowed to modify the Qingqis. "The traffic police can impound Qingqis under the traffic rules and laws but there is no criterion for their regulation," he said. "We are trying make one for them so they can become safe." The NED University study on Qingqis will be completed on October 14 and after Eid, the transport department will start work on regulating Qinqgis.

This is a good news for the All Karachi Qingqi Rickshaw Welfare Association, who are willing to work with the department to modify the vehicles. "We had discussions with the transport department and the commissioner to improve the safety of Qinqgis and get their fitness and route permits when the traffic police started impounding our vehicles," claimed the association's president Syed Safdar Shah Qadri. He felt this is not the first time the police came after them and fears this is a regular routine every Eid.

Traffic police AIG Ghulam Qadir Thebo agreed the transport department has no connections with the crackdown. "Qinqgis are a violation of the motor vehicle ordinance and we have to impound all those vehicles that violate it."

Clarifying the ban, Thebo said these vehicles were not banned because "you cannot ban something which has no existence." He agreed, however, that if the transport department can regulate these vehicles then the traffic police will have no objection.

Court intervenes

Meanwhile, the Sindh High Court has restrained the traffic police from taking any action against Qingqi rickshaws until October 22 as long as they are avoiding main roads and highways.

This temporary injunction came on a petition filed by the Qingqi representative association against the recent crackdown on the three-wheeler rickshaws. They cited the provincial home secretary, AIG Thebo, Traffic DIG and the city commissioner as respondents.

Akbar Khan, the association's finance secretary, said their body is providing public transport facility to the citizens by plying the Qingqi rickshaws on different routes all over the city.

He recalled that the motorcycle rickshaws were introduced by the manufacturers, Saigol Motors Limited, in Punjab in 2001. To introduce the same facility in Sindh, the manufacturer submitted a proposal to the Sindh public transport board, which gave its approval on May 25, 2002. The board had kept all traffic and highway departments in the loop, said Khan.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2013.


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