Punjab government flouts LHC orders on illegal speed breakers


LAHORE: Despite calling upon the federal government to implement verdicts of the superior courts, the Punjab government and its entity, the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) has not implemented the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) judgment ordering the removal of all illegal speed breakers in Lahore with immediate effect, Pakistan Today has learnt.
LHC Chief Justice (CJ) Khawaja Muhammad Sharif on November 3 had ordered the municipal authorities to remove all illegal speed breakers while proceeding on suo motu notice taken on the death of two motorcyclists, Suleman and Farhan, who died after their bikes hit a speed breaker in Gulshan-e-Ravi. Despite passage of nine days, the CDGL had not removed even a single speed breaker and the issue was not discussed in an official meeting as well.
An official posted at the Lahore district coordination officer (DCO) office told Pakistan Today that on practical grounds, the court orders could not be implemented, as it would open a new “Pandora box”. “The judgment sounds good but when it comes to the execution stage, huge funds are required for the purpose, which are not available due to the current financial position of the province,” he added.
The official said that according to a survey carried out in 2007, around 13,000 speed breakers were found in the CDGL jurisdictions and speed breakers in the Lahore Cantonment and the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) stood at 2,000. A district officer, seeking anonymity, said that if the government was pressurised to implement the judgment, a routine action for a short span of time would be taken for avoiding a contempt of court action.
“The issue of speed breakers was just like the encroachment nuisance, as neither could it be addressed nor it was possible to remove the speed breakers,” he said. Lahore DCO Ahad Cheema said that the CGDL was serious in the matter and wanted to demolish illegal speed breakers but the court orders had not reached his office yet. Cheema said that as soon as the orders were received, the concerned TMOs would be issued directions to remove the illegal speed breakers.
Lahore Development Authority (LDA) spokesman Sohail Janjawa expressed ignorance in this regard adding that the LDA had not received any such orders yet. DHA Resident Association President Muhammad Sadiq said that speed breakers were a nuisance in the posh locality and the problem was still unaddressed despite repeated request to the DHA administration. “We would also raise the issue in next annual general meeting, which would be probably held on December 5,” he said.
Model Town Resident Association Incharge Amir Azam said that speed breakers were also present in the area due to poor administration of the Model Town Society (MTS). He said that Model Town residents wanted to get rid of the speed breakers as well. Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (TEPA) Chief Engineer Saeed Ahmed said that speed breakers were a serious threat to shock absorbers of vehicles due to their poor construction. According to international standards, a speed breaker should be 3 to 4 inches high and 12 inches long.
He said that generally TEPA did not construct speed breakers and if it really had to, on an area assigned by the government, like in front of hospitals, it followed the international standards. But the new trend was the installation of cat eyes in place of speed breakers now, he added. A LDA official said that the department did not support speed breakers in areas under its jurisdiction because it hampered the smooth flow of traffic.
Motorist Rehman said, “Anyone can construct a speed breaker anywhere in the city. There is no law to check this practice. These bumps are dangerous, as there is no traffic sign or a reflector to warn that there is a speed breaker ahead.” People construct speed breakers to discourage speeding motorcycles, he said.