Traffic Violation @ Bundar Road

Bundar Road se Keamari khari he tanker gari

By Jamil Khan | KARACHI

THE classic Radio Pakistan song sung by the late Ahmed Rushdie, ‘Bandar road sey Keamari chalay ri meri ghora gari, baboo ho ja na foot path pey!’ cautions the listener to hop onto the footpath as the horse carriage comes by. Ironically, decades later, the song still has meaning even if there is no footpath any more. This time, however, horse carriages have been replaced by tankers, long-haul goods carriers and trailers from Bunder Road (MA Jinnah Road) to Keamari or the Karachi Port Trust Gate No. 15. The message, as with the location, is the same.
They stand in line and park illegally across three lanes of traffic as their drivers wait for computerized copies of shipments before they go into the port. The KPT administration has partially completed the 150-million-rupee KPT Overpass but only vehicles emerging from the port are using it.
As a result, only two lanes of traffic are left open as the consignments and their drivers wait outside Gate No. 15 on the section of M.A. Jinnah Road, from Native Jetty Bridge to the KPT Fire Station. Trailers and other cargo vehicles not only bring shipments from different parts of the country for export but they also wait to transport imported consignments. Due to the illegal and haphazardly parked vehicles, the residents of Ghass Bander Railway Colony and their children are always at risk. Only two traffic policemen have been deputed to the area.
“Sometime we have to wait for two days and you only need two to three hours to obtain a copy of the orders,” said Javed, the driver of a 20-wheeler trailer. They had no option but to park outside the gate after greasing the palms of the traffic policemen. Asadullah, a constable, said that there are only four policemen deputed at this busy intersection, two in the morning shift and two in the evening. “It is impossible for two officials to regulate hundreds of vehicles, especially 22-wheeler long carriers,” he said.
“Sometimes they agree on Rs 20 note for small vehicles but long trawlers, especially loaded ones, have to pay Rs 200 to Rs 400,” said another driver Sharafat Khan who was also waiting for the agent to clear papers so he could offload his consignment. “For the last couple of weeks, the officials have made it compulsory for drivers and cleaners to obtain computerized identity cards with digital photographs for those who wish to enter the port area. We have to prepare new identification cards for every visit, which is another reason agents go through the entire procedure.”
The waits are so long that the long-haul carriers are always lined up outside the port. The residential population of Ghass Bander Railway Colony has no other way to approach but through the tankers and trailers. According to Abdul Wahid, the owner of a tire shop on the main road, during the last couple of months, four children between the ages of 4 to 8 have died while playing on the road. A few weeks ago, a speeding high-roof van collided with parked vehicles because it was so dark; one man died and three others were seriously injured.
There are two major entrance points on this road for the carriers, Gate 15 of KPT and Gate 1 near the KPT Fire Station which is operated by Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT). A KPT spokesman told Daily Times that the new overpass had been completed to overcome these traffic congestion problems which would end after it opens. “Presently, the drivers and cleaners have been issued computerized identification cards and the process takes time,” he said. “These cards will be permanent and the drivers have to punch them when they enter the port area through the new bridge.”
-Published in Daily Times | June 16, 2008

~ by jamilkhan on June 21, 2008.

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