Oil worth Rs 400bn lost annually due to traffic jams: moot told

KARACHI: Experts stressed the need for proper implementation on traffic management policy and suggested the government to continue it to counter increasing traffic congestion for larger benefit of business community, commuters and private transporters in the metropolis.

They were speaking at a workshop entitled “Sustainable Urban Transport Policy and Transport/Traffic Management Issues”, organized by Pakistan Sustainable Transport (PAKSTRAN) Project, Sindh in collaboration with UNDP at a local hotel on Tuesday evening.

The program was attended by a large number of people from different walks of life including CIU Sindh, PAKSTRAN’s Director Fazal Karim Khatri and Manager Yar Mohammad, Karachi Traffic Police Department’s DIG Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh and other traffic police officials, CNG Owners Association’s President Malik Khuda Bux, NED University’s Department of Urban and Infrastructure Engineering Chairman Mir Shabbar Ali and representatives from Pakistan Oil Tankers Owners Associations.

The draft policy on PAKSTRAN project Sindh prepared by NED University’s Department of Urban and Infrastructure was presented before the audience for constructive discussion to get further suggestions on it, while the solutions were sought to resolve traffic management issues in the city.

Prof Dr Mir Shabbar Ali said that at least Rs 400 billion of fuel burns annually due to the traffic congestion in the city which is directly or indirectly costing the individuals, as per the survey report conducted by NED University. Dr Shabbar said there was dire need of rapid bus transit system that could minimize the tension of commuters facing acute shortage of public transport in the metropolis.

Dr Shabbar suggested that a large number of traffic signals should be installed along 25 major roads including Shara-e-Faisal, MA Jinnah Road, University Road and Tariq Road, for betterment of traffic management in Karachi. He said illegal encroachments should be removed to get quick relief from traffic congestion on different roads and areas including Sadder, MA Jinnah, Tariq Road, Gulistan-e-Johar and Gulshan-e-Iqbal. Parking plazas should be constructed in busiest areas of the city.

Sindh Building Control Authority should strictly implement its laws for leaving space for parking areas in buildings, he said. Dr Shabbar while presenting views on draft policy on PAKSTRAN Project, said that pedestrians, women and disable people should be given top priority in the Rapid Bus Transit which is underway to facilitate Karachiites. He said the population growth in Pakistan is 2.54% while the Sindh province is growing too fast in urban population with 2.58%. He said RBT project is the need of the hour in Karachi which will be expanded to other urban cities of Sindh including Hyderabad, Badin, Larkana, Nawabshah and Sukkur.

Yar Mohammad said that the transport sector should be declared as the industry in Pakistan so that private investors could invest in it. He said they are bringing sustainable urban transport which will be fuel efficient, cost efficient, sustainable and environment-friendly. He said they had focused on coordination and communication with relevant departments in order to make this project successful. For the capacity building, they had organized many workshops and traffic awareness sessions in the city for transporters, commuters, students and traffic police, while latest equipments will be brought for betterment of the traffic system, he said.

He said Karachi is facing acute shortage of public transport where only 6% public transport is available for 42% commuters so they are working with sincerity to facilitate public as soon as possible.

Fazal Karim Khatri in his vote of thanks presentation said that they are going to inaugurate the one corridor of Orange Line soon in the city. He said all stakeholders are on same page to make this project successful to facilitate commuters. He thanked all guests for their participation.

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