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Lahore City ‘closed’ for construction
08-02-2012, 03:16 PM
Post: #1
Lahore City ‘closed’ for construction
Lahore City ‘closed’ for construction

[Image: attachment.php?aid=1035]
LAHORE – Blockage of different roads due to the construction work initiated by the LDA, Nespak, Tepa and other departments, coupled with ill-planned alternative arrangements by the City Traffic Police Lahore (CTPL), is causing numerous problems for the motorists and general commuters in the City.
The construction companies working on the Metro Bus Rapid Transit System (MBRTS) and the CTPL have barricaded several roads leading to The Mall and Jail Road. Tepa and Nespak are currently working on this mega project, while the Lahore Transport Company (LTC) will operate more than 100 air-conditioned buses gifted by Istanbul Mayor Dr Kadir Topbas for the MBRTS.
Talking about the pros and cons of the project, an official of the Punjab Transport Department said the public is currently facing acute problems because of the project that will continue until December.
“There were 1.2 million registered vehicles in Lahore in 2005, as compared with only 0.5 million in 1998. The City’s annual rate of vehicular growth of 16 per cent is the highest among the big cities of Punjab. With this growth rate, the total number of vehicles in Lahore in 2009 was approximately 2.3 million,” he informed.
The official, however, admitted that the present state of the bus transport system was deplorable and was causing extreme hardships to the people of the City in the course of their day-to-day life. The transport problems in Lahore are now being taken up very seriously by the Punjab government in the form of the MBRTS.
The first phase of this project from Kahna to Kalma Chowk was completed in April, while the second phase of another 30 kilometres of the bus corridor stretching from Shahdara to Kahna is expected to be finished in December. The approximate cost of this project is Rs7.7 billion.
Visible deployment of traffic wardens has been made to divert the traffic, but the daylong gridlocks, which are being observed on the City’s leading arteries, have irked the transporters, motorists and general public.
According to the survey conducted by this scribe, the points that have been completely shut down include: Sanam Chowk to LOS (Ferozepur Road), Hamdard Chowk to Qurtaba Chowk, PMG Chowk to Civil Secretariat via SDPO Islampura Office, Civil Secretariat to MAO, Jain Mandir to MAO (Christ Road), Jain Mandir to Lytton Road, and Chowk Zila Katcheri to Chowk Data Darbar.
The CTPL have also established diversions at different points, including Sanam Chowk to LOS via Eden Centre, Jail Road, Hamdard Chowk to Mozang Adda, Saffanwala Chowk, Qurtaba Chowk, Hamdard Chowk to Mozang Adda, Family Hospital Chowk to AG Office Chowk/Jain Mandir, Zila Katcheri to Chowk Government College to Chowk Istanbul and then IG Office to GC Ground, Chowk Zila Katcheri to Come towards Chowk Retigan and Lower Mall, Chowk Civil Secretariat to People’s House, along Baba Ground via NCA Hostel Sandah Road.
“The aforesaid points, where the construction work is underway, are estimated to have the load of more than 250,000 vehicles daily,” the CTPL spokesman told this reporter. He, however, claimed to have established ample diversions and deployed active wardens on each point and stated the traffic was being regulated to other roads. He said more than 1,000 traffic wardens have been deputed in the form of small groups comprising three to five wardens on each diversion.
“They are ‘hunters’. They are not traffic wardens; they are moneymakers and are busy in minting money for the treasury of the provincial government and for their own vested interests,” alleged a 58-year-old motorcyclist Akbar Khan, during a brief chat with this reporter at Mozang Crossing.
He said as per the strategy, three to five wardens were deputed on each important point. “One regulates the traffic flow, others remain in standby position to chase and issue ticket to the ‘violators’ regardless of the fact whether the motorist has really violated the traffic laws or not,” he added.
Those people who are residing in and around the localities where the roads have been blocked are bearing the brunt of the mismanagement on behalf of the CTPL. They have to not only take a lot of extra time in going to daily destinations, but also bear hazardous noise, dust, and smoke and air pollution.
Secondly, these diversions have also changed the composition of the vehicular activities and traffic flow on various leading roads, forcing the motorists to spend hours in long snarls before reaching their homes or destinations.
A government official Shah Meer, a motorist, said one of the major reasons for this situation is the fact that all the leading arteries have been closed completely at the most imperative points at the same time.
“Before this, the CTPL and other authorities concerned used to block only one lane at the site of construction, leaving the other open for all traffic activities,” he said. “The strategy has been changed recently by the LDA for routine wise construction, which is halting traffic regulation and causing gridlocks.”
A senior official of the Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (Tepa), Lahore, said: “We are constructing an 8-kilometre-long flyover, the longest of South Asia, in Lahore and for the first time in history the articulated bus service is being introduced in Punjab.”
When asked about the mismanagement and poor planning of traffic regulation, the official deviated from the topic and started telling about the construction of 32 overhead bridges – one at each kilometer distance – and introduction of a fleet of 115 air conditioned buses. He, however, categorically blamed the CTPL, terming it responsible for the gridlocks and worst traffic mess on the roads.
Lahore CTO SSP Dr Usman Anwar, however, partially admitted the road mess but asked the citizens to use their ‘road sense’ and abide by traffic rules and regulations. “Educated, well trained and dutiful wardens are discharging their duties in scorching heat in different nooks and corners of the City,” he stated. The CTO believed the City observes minor traffic jumbles at few points on a daily basis.
Contrary to the claims, the frequent traffic jumbles and overcrowding of traffic vehicles are commonly witnessed at the Main Ferozepur Road, the Canal Bank Road, Gulberg Main Boulevard, Jail Road, Shaare Majid Nizami, Egerton Road and many link roads in the central and western Lahore.
Similarly, the southern parts of the Punjab capital are also being witnessed clogged with traffic jammed owing to the rehabilitation work on the leading roads in central Lahore. The CTPL wardens, who are being witnessed in full strength in southern Lahore, have miserably failed to regulate the traffic flow and the vehicular activities are completely jumbled when the power supply to traffic signals is stopped because of loadshedding.


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