ISLAMABAD-Capital Development Authority has been unable to make the contractor repair dysfunctional traffic signals in the city as they pose greater risk to public safety.

The CDA has recently awarded contract for maintenance of the traffic signals against a sum of Rs 5 million for one year to M/s Meeco. The officials concerned at the Authority seem oblivious of the fact that around 20 percent of the traffic signals on the city’s crossroads are dysfunctional. A survey of the city has spotted a number of traffic signals out of order. Let it be main arteries or the signal lights in the residential sectors, a number of traffic signals are dysfunctional and the faulty signals are causing so much confusion and congestions at intersections. Many traffic signals on the main city roads and the link roads have been out of order since long.

The survey reveals that the traffic signal at the main IJP Road near to ‘Metro Cash and Carry’ is out of order since long. On the other end of the same road passing through sector I-11, the situation is no different. Traffic lights at the Police Lines Chowk at the Kashmir Highway are also out of order since long with no remedy for the road-users in sight. In majority cases, traffic light in a particular direction would be faulty while the remaining functional, which creates even more confusion for the road-users. It is very annoying because the road-users don’t know if the light is faulty as the signal for the other direction looks functional. The frequent visitors would move forward while the new one would keep stopping waiting for the signal which would never light. This leads to irritation for the drivers besides traffic congestions and accidents and leaves motorists at high risk of traffic accidents. Interestingly, there would be no Islamabad Traffic Police personnel to regulate the traffic at such a faulty signal.

The other areas where traffic signals have been found out of order include sector F-8 telephone exchange, PWD/Bahria U-Turn on the Expressway and sector F-10 signal. Similarly, traffic signals in the areas as sector G-9 and Bhara Kahu have been found partially dysfunctional. Traffic wardens are found absent from their duty points at the dysfunctional traffic signals and the drivers don’t take care of the rules. The CDA is giving no attention towards the problem which is aggravating the city traffic situation further. According to the officials at the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) wing, maintenance of traffic signals is responsibility of the CDA. “We just report a fault to the Authority and it is their responsibility to repair the same at the earliest,” said a Public Relations Officer at the ITP. He stated that the department continues making requests to the Capital Development Authority (CDA), but majority of the time it goes in vain.

When contacted, two of the top concerning Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials declined to comment on the situation. Another official at the Street Lights Division of the CDA told The Nation on condition of anonymity that the contract for maintenance has been awarded to a firm M/s Meeco. He said that the firm would receive Rs 5 million for maintenance of traffic signals in the city for one year. “There are around 150 traffic signals in the city maintenance of which is responsibility of the contractor,” he said and added that the Authority receives complaints regarding faulty traffic signals through ITP officials and the PM Portal. He said that the firm was regularly updated about the out-of-order traffic lights and it is their responsibility to rectify the fault. He said the Authority had no funds for the last two years and the repair of the traffic lights was being undertaken under ‘Rate Running Contract’ and added” “Now we have a contractor to repair traffic signals”. Traffic light violation is among the most common offences committed by the motorists. Faulty signals, electricity failure and absence of traffic sergeants on busy intersections of the city give way for flouting of traffic signal by the motorists. The practice can more frequently be observed by the trucks carrying aggregate and sand at the IJP Road which don’t care even for human life. Absence of police at the traffic intersection is one of the main reasons why drivers openly flout the law.