KARACHI   -   This Eid and two weekdays were not different in Karachi from the past Eid days as city witnessed worst traffic jams, primarily due to dig up roads in the name of development and mismanagement of traffic authorities.

The traffic police, however, negated that there was any traffic jam in the city and DIG Traffic Javed Mehar while talking to The Nation said that it was not a traffic jam instead the pace of moving traffic was slow at some spots in the city due to extra ordinary vehicles plying on roads on Eid.

“When 10,000 vehicles will be on a road that meant for 100 vehicles, the pace of traffic flow will automatically slowdown,” he said and added that despite the challenge their team successfully managed the traffic flow and there was no report of traffic jam in the city.

Every year, the city witnessed worst traffic jams especially near seaside, amusement parks, eateries and other key locations in the city during Eid days.

However, no plans have been devolved to overcome the issue since years and this year, the issues were coupled due to the dig up city roads for uplift projects.

Roads leading to different blocks of Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Abul Hassan Ispahani Road, Scheme 33, Shahrae Faisal from Baloch Colony towards Medicam roundabout and onwards, Gurumandir to Numaish and onwards and stadium road leading towards Jail Chowarngi are also dig up by the authorities for ongoing uplift projects, causing massive traffic jam for the commuters.

Traffic jam was also witnessed at Johar Chowarngi to Millenium, Water Pump to Sohrab Goth and onwards and other parts of the city due to mismanagement of the traffic authorities.

Traffic police in Karachi also updated slow pace of traffic in the city on the social media unit of the traffic police Twitter account also pointing out the reasons behind the jam.

In one such Twitter post, it stated on Saturday night: “Traffic is moving slow at Stadium towards Karsaz, Aladin towards Johar, Madam towards Star Gate, Ancholi towards Sohrab Goth, Nipa towards Aladin Park, University Road, Safari Park, Rashid Minhas Road and Shah Walaiullah Road. Please drive carefully.”

In another post the same day, it stated: “Traffic is moving slow at the following areas, due to large number of people visiting picnic point. 1 Abdullah Shah Ghazi 2.Karachi Zoo 3. PAF (Stadium towards Karsaz) 4. Shahra Faisal, Rashir Minhas Road. Please drive carefully.”

Muhammad Sameer, 25, said that he normally covers route from Teen Hatti to Liaquatabad in two minutes on motorbike, however, this Eid it took an hour to cover the distance due to absence of traffic authorities that usually were present near Liaquatabad number 10.

“With scorching heat on the head, this one hour coupled the misery of travelling on second Eid day,” he said adding that he would have enjoyed the Eid with more fun while remaining indoors due to mismanagement of the authorities.

Muhammad Rafi, 26 who lives in Gulberg said that the traffic congestion on road leading from Five Star Chowarngi towards Matric Board Office remains congested due to ongoing development work on green line bus project coupled with excessive marriage halls and lack of parking area for the visitors in routine.

“The Eid days brought havoc in the area due to a large number of people coming out and it took me an hour to reach my relatives at Matric Board office,” he said adding they planned to visit a number of relatives and some amusement park on second day of Eid, however, the plan was foiled due to massive traffic jam in the area.

We have to later apologise to our friends for not attending their reception on the Eid day, he said angrily and demanded that the government should complete projects on time and create proper alternative routes before launching any projects. Muhammad Naveed Iqbal, 28, also complained of traffic jam at Karsaz on Shahra-e-Faisal and said that it happened every year due to a museum there but the authorities failed to devise a proper strategy to deal with it.

The traffic police official also admitted slow pace of traffic at amusement parks and museum places in Karachi and said that they had asked their management to restrict entry of limited number of visitors.

He, however, said that it was not possible as it was only season for them to earn money. Therefore, we deployed our senior officials and devised alternate route strategy to overcome it and the situation remained far better from the previous years, Mehar claimed. 

“We devised a plan for key thoroughfares in the city and banned entry of buses on sea view road and also issued alternative routes for the masses to avoid using congested roads,” he said.

The official said that the flow of traffic at Karsaz, Shaheed Millat Road, University Road and others was maintained and higher traffic police officials were on ground to monitor the situation.

He further said that development works on key roads makes it a double challenge for them to cope up with increased traffic and also manage increased traffic pressure on alternate roads.

“We have asked the government to complete uplift projects on priority basis in order to ease pressure on main thoroughfares,” he said.

Vehicles coming on Karachi without infrastructure development

Hundreds of thousands of vehicle coming on Karachi roads without expanding the infrastructure to deal with them and absence of better local transport are also adding to the woes of commuters, who had to face traffic jams in the city on festival days.

According to reply from a provincial minister in the Sindh assembly during question and answer session, over 0.423 million two-wheeler vehicles were registered in Karachi during 2014 and 2015 as compared to 0.22 million registered in rest of the Sindh province. It was further informed during the assembly proceedings in 2018 that 46,000 imported cars were registered in during three years from 2013 to 2015.

Although the provincial government had carried out some uplift projects to expand the main thoroughfares of the city including University Road, Shahra e Faisal Shaheed Millat Road and others, however, with a big number of vehicles plying on Karachi roads, such efforts seems to be of no use. The traffic police official concluded that they had also submitted a plan to the provincial authorities for construction of underpasses and over head bridges in parts of the city in order to ease traffic flow in the city that has almost two million vehicles on roads at a time.