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‘Signal-free’ roads of Faisalabad

‘Signal-free’ roads of Faisalabad

FAISALABAD: Traffic remains choked at the Jinnah Colony intersection for hours every day. Vehicles honk horns desperately to find the way and attract attention of the warden who seems helpless to regulate the traffic.

Like the Jinnah Colony intersection, most of the traffic points of the Faisalabad city present a traffic mess at rush hours of the day because of broken signals for the last several months.

Mohammad Irfan, a motorist, said it was a complete failure of government departments, particularly of the traffic police, that the signals were not working properly. He said the traffic mess caused brawls among the motorists on busy intersections just because of signals.

He said it seemed the government was losing interest in public issues and demanded Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif look into the issue and take stern action against the officials who failed to get the signals repaired.

A warden, regulating the traffic mess, requesting anonymity, said the collection of money through fines from road laws violators was the prime target of the officials.

He said a number of time he had narrowly escaped accidents while regulating traffic manually by standing in the middle of the road without any protection gadgets.

He said that in the past a warden used to stand on a two to three feet high bar and motorists could easily see him and his instructions. However, the bar facility was not available for wardens now.

Other than motorists, pedestrians also face problems to get across the roads because of traffic jams or reckless movement of the motors.

In May last, City Traffic Police Officer Baka Muhammad had said that 17, of 24, signals were out of order in the city.

He said at all important points, wardens were doing their duties, sectors heads and DSPs monitored them occasionally. In case of absence of wardens, he said, the department would take action against the absentee wardens. He said the department was trying its level best to make the traffic smooth at peak hours.

No effort was done even after three months to repair the signals. This time, when this correspondent contacted him, the CTO chose not to respond.

A district government officer, requesting anonymity, said installation and repair of signals were the responsibility of the Faisalabad Municipal Corporation. He admitted that district government officials also paid no attention to the signals even when local body offices were not established.

Afzal Ali, a rickshaw driver, said defective signals would cause brawls in Faisalabad and during the last two months he had clashed with motorists three times. He said a car driver had slapped him accusing him of blocking the road.

He said signals were off and motorists were moving at a snail’s pace at the Jinnah Colony Chowk when the car driver dragged him out of the rickshaw. He said the passersby intervened and pacified the car rider.

City Mayor Abdul Razzaq Malik did not respond the text messages seeking his comment.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2017

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