LAHORE – Although the long-awaited rain spell brought relief to the sweltering heat-hit people on Saturday, the downpour exposed the tall claims of traffic managers in the City, drawing public ire.

Thousands of commuters, stuck in snarl-ups, had to break their fasts on road, damning traffic wardens and authorities concerned for their failure to cope with the situation.

After the heavy rain, the City remained in the grip of four-hour traffic jam until Iftar. Women and children were also among traffic mess-hit people, while pedestrians also faced hardships because of negligence on the part of traffic wardens, who were dubbed as “traffic jammers” and “hunters”. The rainwater gushed into vehicles, switching the engines off.

Though the traffic wardens were deployed on the road, they failed to ensure smooth traffic flow. Most of them were seen standing on the corners at several points probably without a sense of responsibility of ensuring smooth flow and proper regulation of vehicular activities.

On sensitive points, including Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Waris Road Chowk, Mozang Crossing, Safanwala Chowk, MAO College Chowk and Shadman Chowk, the absence of traffic wardens rubbed salt into the wounds of fasting commuters stranded in the traffic mess. Long queues of public transport as well as cyclists were witnessed on all roads, particularly alternative routes.

Traffic jammed on the Mozang Crossing, which resulted into the blockages on the Jail Road, Main Ferozeupur Road, Sharey Fatima Jinnah, The Mall, Railway Station, GPO Chowk, Anarkali Bazaar, Mozang Adda, Lytton Road, Chuburji Chowk, Ravi Road, Canal Road, Main Gulberg’s Boulevard, and other leading arteries.

“I had to travel three hours to reach my destination which I used to reach in five minutes,” said an annoyed motorist Naveed Shah. Shah said he reached the Governor’s House Chowk at 3:05 and it took him three more hours to reach his destination near Waris Road Chowk. Talking a swipe at the traffic police, he claimed to have personally observed the wardens turned into “traffic jamming tools”.

“First of all, they were not present at the points where they should have been and secondly if they were present, they did not bother,” he observed. “The traffic wardens themselves had lost the sense of traffic regulation.”

However, a spokesperson for Lahore City Traffic Police shrugged off the responsibility, saying: “The heavy rainfall was the major cause for ‘partial’ traffic jam in the provincial capital. Traffic wardens were deputed at each sensitive point of the City with strict directions by the Lahore CTO to ensure smooth flow of traffic.”

Moreover, the Water and Sanitation Authority (Wasa) failed to drain rainwater from the low-lying areas of the City on the first downpour of the season. The low-lying areas, including Mozang Adda, GPO Chowk, Chuburji, Samanabad Roundabout, Multan Chungi and Dongi Ground became water ponds.