CM wants parking spaces in shopping Plazas KARACHI: Taking a policy decision to solve the longstanding problem of traffic congestion in the city, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday ordered the Karachi administration to open closed parking spaces of commercial buildings and shopping plazas within the next 10 days. He also ordered the removal of roadside stalls, illegal parking and encroachment along key thoroughfares and neighbourhoods, officials said.
He took this decision while presiding over a meeting on traffic management issues at CM House.
Briefing the CM, DIG-Traffic Ameer Shaikh said Karachi had a population of more than 20 million with 3.9 million registered vehicles. The total strength of the traffic police in the city was just 3,200 against 3.9 million vehicles leaving a traffic constable to take care of an average of 1,031 vehicles.
Quoting the figures of Lahore, he said it had a population of 9.7 million with 2.2 million registered vehicles and the numerical strength of traffic police in Lahore was 3,100 showing that a traffic constable managed 677 vehicles daily on aggregate.
Talking about road safety and traffic flow management, he said the impediments in traffic flow was caused by daily increase in vehicles, lack of parking space, encroachments along roads, road blockage due to protests, security reasons and rallies, heavy traffic movement, bad conditions of roads, including sewage flows, and lack of walking pavements or pedestrian bridges.
The CM said most shopping plazas and commercial buildings had parking areas in their basements and on some of their floors too.
“I have noticed that they have closed their parking areas, leaving vehicles to be parked on roads,” he said, and ordered the commissioner Karachi to get those parking areas open within 10 days.
Officials said parking spaces were available in shopping centres or commercial buildings on Tariq Road, Khalid Bin Waleed Road, II Chundrigar, shopping centres along the street from Teen Talwar to Do Talwar in Clifton, and various other road buildings, yet they were parking vehicles on roads
IGP Sindh AD Khwaja said there were only three driving license centres while around 50 per cent drivers had no driving licenses.
He said there were 88 traffic sections in the city but 70pc of them were located on footpaths, road corners, underneath bridges and there were no traffic headquarters in the city and even had no impound yards.
The CM directed IGP Police to prepare a plan to strengthen traffic police so that it could be implemented in phases.
It was pointed out that over 8,000 traffic challans were produced every day. The annual challans or fine collected in 2013 was Rs253 million, in 2014 its collection reached to Rs403m, and in 2015 it was recorded at Rs459m — showing an increase in traffic offences.
The CM urged the police to educate people about traffic laws and said he would consider the proposal to include traffic awareness in school syllabus.
“I want to equip the traffic police with latest equipment and gadgets but the traffic police training, and capacity building must be done,” he said. The CM directed the IGP to recommend fresh recruitment in traffic police to increase its strength as per the requirements of the city.
10,000 surveillance cameras to be installed
The CM also approved a Rs10 billion project to install 10,000 surveillance cameras in the city in a bid to combat crime in the teaming city with an efficient vigilance system, officials said.
Addressing a gathering at a programme organised by a media house, Mr Shah said he had approved the Rs10bn plan under which 10,000 closed-circuit cameras would be installed in the city within three years. They would add to the hundreds of similar cameras which had already been installed in various parts of the city. The CM said he had ordered to make functional the defected cameras from those already installed.
Keeping in view the track record of criminal activities, police had identified over 2,000 spots where the new cameras would be installed and a command and control centre would operate them.
“The command and control centre would also issue necessary directives from there,” the CM said.
Replying to a question, the CM said there was lack of planning in making development schemes and projects.
“But, we are trying to enhance the capacity of our planners for which civil society will also have to assist the government.”
He said he had taken disciplinary actions against some senior officers facing allegations of lethargy and inefficiency but just to keep morale of the other officers high “we are not publicising such actions.”
He added he had initiated a process to make government officers accountable.
“I have my own strategy to bring every officer to work in time; this would help to solve most problems which develop due to absence of government officials from their office.”
About police order 2001, Mr Shah said it had lot of flaws as it had turned Sindh into a police state, which is why it was replaced with the old law.
“I agree with you that police reforms were badly needed for public security, protection and on top of it we need public-friendly police,” he said.