Wastage of public funds: Traffic police shelve mobile van project

KARACHI: As the continuation of poor governance in Sindh province and cruel wastage of funds, traffic police have shelved a project to issue driving licenses through mobile vans after wasting millions of rupees on a project that was inaugurated with a big fanfare at Karachi Press Club in 2013 by no other than Inspector of Sindh Police himself.

Traffic authorities said they have already cancelled the mobile van service for issuing learners’ driving licenses which was inaugurated a few years back in the metropolis.

The basic idea to issue the learners’ licenses through a mobile van service is against traffic laws. A driving license is not a national identity card which only could be kept in pocket but it is government’s permission for driving vehicles on roads so it must be followed by proper procedures, said Traffic Police (Licensing & Training) DIG Aftab Pathan on Monday while talking.

He said issuing a driving license requires various tests and assessment of medical fitness that cannot be done in a mobile van.

DIG Aftab said no one would be allowed to violate traffic law in the city as they are brining 100 percent transparency in issuance of driving licenses through an official procedure of getting it.

It may be noted that the mobile van service drive was inaugurated by Inspector General of Police, Sindh Ghulam Hyder Jamali in 2013. It was sponsored by a private company. The main objective of the mobile vans was said to issue learners’ licenses to students and corporate sector people at their doorsteps in streets, universities and business centres through these mobile vans to cater driving license needs of twenty million plus population of the city.

However, the drive for which mobile vans and other equipment were purchased at high costs from taxpayers’ money was stopped one year ago due to a ‘fault occurred in the linkage system of the mobile service’.

On a query, Pathan said, there is no need of issuing licenses through a van service in Karachi as there are already three branches of license department that are enough to issue learner and full driving licenses to citizens following proper procedure. He said traffic law does not allow them to start such a mobile service for learner licenses which cannot meet the legal requirements. He said if they need to open more branches to tackle rush of citizens at existing three branches.

However, there was no satisfactory answer to a query why the mobile van license project was planned, inaugurated and ran while it was against the very basic traffic rules and procedures regarding issuing driving licenses. There was also no answer to how much money was wasted in this failed project, who were the real beneficiaries and what action was taken against those involved in this wastage of taxpayers’ money.