KARACHI (PPI) - Illegal encroachment of car showroom owners, who routinely park their vehicles in double and triple lanes on roads and pavements, is one of the major causes of crippling traffic jams in Karachi, annoying commuters and motorists on daily basis. Despite initiatives taken by the City District Government Karachi (CGDK) to control traffic congestion by widening roads and constructing flyovers and underpasses, the city still faces frequent gridlock, especially during rush hours. The problem persists mainly because the town authorities and traffic police have failed to remove these encroachments, particularly by car showroom owners, who park their vehicles on busy roads, clogging the smooth flow of traffic. New M.A Jinnah Road in Jamshed Town, a major thoroughfare of the city, houses dozens of car showrooms on its both flanks, while many other located at inner lanes. Car showroom owners park their cars not only on footpathes meant for facilitating pedestrians, but also on the main road in double or triple lanes, causing a lot of troubles for vehicular traffic. This important road linking downtown Karachi to Liaqat National Hospital, Aga Khan Hospital, Civic Centre, Karachi University and several other important locations is badly affected by these illegal encroachments. It creates hindrances not for public and private vehicles but also for ambulances, rushing critical patients to hospitals. Similar encroachments of car dealers are also witnessed on Khalid Bin Waleed Road, interestingly in the same town. Nazim Jamshed Town Javed Ahmed, when contacted, told PPI that his town administration has served several notices to car showroom owners asking them not to park their cars illegally on pavements and roads, but to no avail. He said that an anti-encroachment drive would be launched against them after the current month of Rabi-ul-Awwal. He said these car owners are a virus that always prevails. He said encroachers are like stubborn beggars who refuse to move away when politely asked so. He said several times their illegally parked vehicles were lifted but the problem persists. He said City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal had suggested shifting the business of car showroom to Superhighway, but this proposal could not be implemented due to certain problems of Karachi including that of law and order. However, he assured that a heavy crackdown on illegal encroachers would be launched after the end of current Islamic month. DSP Traffic Zone-II Jamshed Town Muhammad Ayub was of the view that traffic congestion and illegal encroachments were two different matters. He said his department is focusing on both issues. He said they lift illegally parked vehicles from roads, adding forklift vehicles of traffic police patrol in the area to remove illegally parked vehicles. To a question, he said car dealers are also compelled to park their vehicles in front of their showrooms, because there are no dedicated parking lots in this area. Chairman All Pakistan Motor Dealers Association H.M Shahzad stated that the illegally parked vehicles of car showroom owners should be lifted, immediately, by traffic police to let all violators know the consequences of breaking law. He said the car showroom owners have been doing their business in area for 50 years, adding their genuine problems should also be considered and they may be allotted a proper place to run their business. He said City Nazim Karachi was keen to allot a location on Superhighway to the car showroom owners but the newly elected government halted this process that put the matter on back burner. He pointedly held Sindh government responsible for delay in solving this issue. He said government should earmark some adequate site where all 1,000 plus car showrooms of Karachi could be shifted. He added that authorities should keep in view that such area should have all civic facilities like electricity, gas, telephone, and there should be proper law and order for safety of car dealers and their customers. He urged government to hold meeting with car dealers association to devise a proper strategy to solve this issue for good. Desired results could be achieved if the government seriously takes up this matter and also includes traffic police in the planning process, he added.