New license centres in doldrums as govt delays funds

KARACHI: The opening of 18 new license centres at town level in Karachi and four other full-fledged driving license branches in remaining districts of Karachi as recommended by Karachi Licence Department has hit snags because of non issuance of funds from Sindh government to the Licence Department for construction of these centres and their land rent, said Karachi Licence Department DIG Aftab Pathan.

Talking to PPI, DIG Pathan said they had already written an official letters to the AIGP and other relevant departments to issue funds on urgent basis so that a large number of new driving applicants could be accommodated and facilitated in their towns. In Karachi hundreds of thousands of new applicants of driving licenses could not get their licenses, only because the license department has no capacity and manpower to entertain their applications.

The DIG said they have recommended two government’s vacant buildings for establishing new full-fledged branches, one in Saudabad area of district Malir and another in Sadiqabad area of district West but no initiatives could yet be taken by the relative departments of the government of Sindh.

Pathan said as per the law, 30 percent of each licence’ fee should be spent on the repair renovation of the driving lenience branches and providing facilities for the visitors including establishing new branches or centres if needed, and constructions of sitting area and other civic facilities in the running branches and centres.

He said currently only three driving lenience branches are working in the city including Korangi Licence Branch, Nazimabad Licence Branch and Clifton Licence Branch. He said this small number of branches is very negligible as compared to mammoth population of the mega city. He said: “there is a dire need to increase capacity of the branches for issuing licences as per the growth of Karachi’s population; otherwise, the driving licensing system could be affected due to shortage of branches, which would directly and indirectly affect the citizens.

He said the rush on these three branches is reduced as compared to last two months but it could be increased again if the enforcement section of traffic police department started its abruptly halted drive against the drivers without licences in the city.

In Karachi about 80percent of drivers, especially bikers, run their vehicles on the city roads and streets, though they do not possess valid driving licenses. Majority of these unlawful drivers want to get valid driving licenses but the Sindh government has not funds as well as political will to develop the needed infrastructure in the mega city to issue licenses to them.