Federal Ombudsman takes notice of Islamabad’s traffic mess

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In the context of large scale public complaints of traffic problems, the Hon’ble Federal Ombudsman calls upon Heads of Government Agencies i.e. Chief Commissioner ICT, IG Police, Federal Secretary Communications, and Chief NTRC to formulate an effective action plan to address traffic issues which have grown more serious in recent years due to large scale migration from other provinces. Chairing a meeting he emphasized the need for better coordination and effective action by the authorities. In the meeting, various constraints were highlighted by the agencies, such as acute shortage of manpower, meager fines, dearth of financial resources for construction of road infrastructure.

Various proposals and suggestions were discussed in the meeting to work out a feasible plan of action containing short and long-term measures. The Member Planning CDA Mr. Waseem Bajwa informed that some major roads are under construction but CDA is working aggressively to complete the road infrastructure within the shortest possible time. He also informed that Metro Busses have been started at different routes which will ease the transport difficulties in Islamabad. The DIG Operations Islamabad Police Mr. Sohail Zafar Chattha informed that the new traffic system was initiated in ICT in 2006 with 656 traffic police officials and at present it is run by only 606 officials whereas population and number of vehicles have increased disproportionally in ICT. The SSP Traffic Dr. Syed Mustafa Tanveer informed that under Motor Vehicle Ordinance the fines in major violations are still as low as Rs.200, which need to be enhanced considerably. The Chief NTRC Mr. Hameed Akhtar said that most of the roads are designed for four wheel traffic whereas two and three wheel traffic has increased by millions, therefore, road traffic engineering needs due changes. He also emphasized the need to further improve the road traffic signage in ICT.

The Federal Ombudsman asked the Islamabad Traffic Police to consider getting traffic volunteers from educational institutions for the time being to control traffic at different points in Islamabad. He assured the Islamabad Traffic Police to take up the matter of shortage of manpower and increase in fine money, especially for repeaters of traffic violations, at appropriate level. He further said that road safety curriculum must be included in the text books from junior to college level.

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