Call to set up special ITP unit for VIPs movements

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 14 (APP):The Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) officials on Sunday called for establishing a special unit to control traffic during the movement of very important persons (VIPs) to relieve those already burdened to manage massive traffic flow on the capital’s roads.
Voicing concerns over worsening traffic problems due to poor strength of the ITP, the officials told APP it became all the more necessary to hire specially trained staff for the VIP movements.
The ITP when established in 2005 it was an exemplary force managing smooth traffic flow in the capital, but with no increase in its strength of 685 and ever rising population, its performance had declined, a senior ITP official said.
He said each traffic warden was supposed to tackle 183 vehicles per day as per a decided formula, but the ITP’s strength had not been risen in proportion to the population.
“The traffic flow has now increased by almost seven times in the past 13 years while the staff’s strength has gradually decreased to 628 from 685 owing to retirement of some officials,” he said, while pointing out that over the past 20 years, the population of the federal capital had doubled to over 2 million.
Terming VIP movements a major reason behind the absence of traffic officials from most of the duty points, the official said a sizeable number of personnel remained busy in managing VVIP movements and regulating parking issues in the capital’s markets, leaving a small number to manage smooth mobility of over 900,000 registered vehicles on the roads.
A traffic sergeant, who was performing duty in Sector G-9, said managing traffic flow was a nerve-testing job. “We have to remain on feet all the time during duty hours irrespective of the harsh weather conditions.”
Qasim Ali, another ITP official, said according to the ITP’s standard operating procedures (SOPs), which were introduced in 2005, each traffic official was supposed to perform an eight-hour duty, but at present an inspector was to work for over 15 hours and a constable was to remain on duty for more than 8 hours. Moreover, unscheduled arrangements for VIPs movements usually prolonged their working hours certainly undermining their professional efficiency, he added.
“We have requested the authorities concerned to induct a new batch of at least 100 personnel, especially to deal with the VIPs movements but so far no action has been taken in this regard,” he said.
Stressing the urgent reinforcement of ITP Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Furukh Rashid said over 2,000 traffic wardens were needed to be deployed at 506 points across the federal capital to handle the daily load of traffic.
With the current strength of the force, he said, the ITP was managing over 286 spots round the clock in two 12-hour-long shifts while 89 points are regulated partially. “Some 131 spots, mostly in the rural areas of the city, go unattended due to a shortage of staff,” he added.
“What to speak of rural areas, the ITP was unable to spare personnel to control traffic at some thoroughfares and intersections, such as many spots on both sides of the Islamabad Expressway, Tarnol, Bara Kahu, Golra and at some points in sectors G-11, E-7, E-8, and E-11,” the SSP said.
He said at least six sergeants were required to be deployed at large intersections and four at small ones, while
currently that ratio was four and one respectively.