Islamabad : Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) have written to the Ministry of Interior (MoI) for fresh recruitment of more than 1500 personnel showing concern that shortage of staff is undermining its efficiency to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the federal capital’s roads and avenues.
In a letter forwarded to the MoI, the department concerned has requested the authorities concerned to give approval for increase in its numbers from 628 to over 2,100 as a large number of unmanned intersections of Islamabad required an urgent reinforcement of the force, said Senior Superintendent of Police (traffic) Farrukh Rashid in an exclusive talk with this agency.
Expressing his optimism, he said the PC-I would manage to get early approval from the authorities concerned, adding that the competent authority had assured to revamp ITP for restoring it to the exemplary force once it was a decade ago. To a query, he said ITP was facing paucity of staff since long and it had also submitted its concerns in National assembly and Senate multiple times in this regard.
ITP when established in 2005 was a state-of-the-art traffic police managing smooth traffic flow in the capital, but with no increase in its strength of 685 and ever rising population, its performance had declined, he regretted.
Furukh Rashid said over 2,000 traffic personnel 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. 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.
To a question about traffic clogs in peak hours, VVIP movements and parking issues, the SSP said ITP had constituted various squads to manage its affairs and enhance their efficiency. Qasim Ali, an 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 had to work for more than 15 hours and a constable for more than 8 hours.
Moreover, unscheduled arrangements for VIPs movements usually prolong their working hours certainly undermining their professional efficiency, he added. "We have requested the relevant authorities 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.
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 tough weather conditions.