THE Chief Secretary Punjab has directed all private and public schools situated on main roads to appoint road crossing assistants to help children cross busy roads safely.
In line with this directive, Commissioner Rawalpindi chaired a meeting on Thursday to discuss ways and means to streamline traffic and issued instructions for practical implementation of the decision.
This is a laudable initiative that would surely go a long way in ensuring safety of small school-going children.
Unfortunately, a majority of educational institutions in the country are situated at awkward locations leading to traffic congestion, accidents involving students and inconvenience to the general public.
The concept of crossing guards, patrollers and assistants is not new as the law in many western countries requires either the government or the institutions concerned to appoint such personnel as this is considered to be the safest road crossing option.
In some countries, it is legally binding for the traffic to stop when so required by the crossing guards/assistants.
It is also a welcome decision of the Punjab Government not to accord approval for construction of schools, colleges and hospitals on main roads.
We would recommend that public dealing offices like those of district administration, police, revenue department, courts, education boards, post offices, offices of electricity, gas and telephone departments should also be constructed away from main roads as a long-term solution to the growing issue of traffic congestion and road accidents.
While appreciating the idea of traffic assistants, we hope they would be properly trained by the respective traffic police as is done in other countries so that they are able to perform their responsibilities in a satisfactory manner.
This being a step in the right direction, Islamabad Capital Territory and other provincial governments too should make it mandatory for schools and hospitals to appoint road crossing assistants.