Lack of traffic wardens: Heavy vehicles rule night-time

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LAHORE: The city traffic police have left the citizens suffering at the hands of heavy traffic vehicles that, owing to the lack of wardens, run on the roads unchecked during the night, Pakistan Today has observed.

Though the entrance of heavy traffic in the city from 6 am to 11 pm has been banned by the traffic police, soon after the deadline ends, one can see dangerous freight vehicles running on the roads of the provincial capital recklessly.

In the absence of the traffic wardens on the roads, heavy traffic including 10 to 40 wheelers cargo vehicles can be observed running carelessly, posing threat to public safety and lives of the other motorists. The vehicles can also be seen racing each other while several times the drivers are also found to be intoxicated.

Currently, there are 34 sectors of the traffic police in the city and each sector runs with around 50 wardens in two shifts. Sources in the traffic police told that during the night time there are only one to two wardens who perform their duties in each sector.“In the routine shift there are around 15 to 20 wardens in a shift,” they added.

However, they said that every sector has a different number of wardens according to the traffic situation of the respective sector. “The reason behind the minimal number of wardens during the night is because they are often tasked with providing protocol to VIP movements,” they said and added that controlling thousands of heavy vehicles along light vehicles during the night time is not easy for just a couple of wardens and that is why they remain reluctant to perform their duties wholeheartedly.

An official in the police department confirmed that the department was facing a shortage of over 1,000 wardens out of its sanctioned strength of 3,500.

“Many wardens have left the department while around 500 wardens are performing their duties in different offices,” he said adding that approximately 2,000 wardens were currently present in Lahore to control the flow of traffic.

He further said that a few years back there was a regular night shift, but it was ended due to the lack of staff. “Since the ending of a proper night shift, the department is also facing losses in terms of revenue that was being collected by issuing tickets to violators,” added the official.

The spokesman of the traffic police Hammad Raza said that wardens are mostly deployed on the main points of the city during the night time. He said that night shift had not been ended, but a short number of wardens were performing night duties as not much are needed during the night.

“Wardens are present in their respective sectors during the night shift while extra personnel are called if needed,” he said.