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October 10, 2018

NH&MP drifting away from its character


October 10, 2018

Islamabad : It was somewhat disappointing experience to travel to Lahore through the Grand Trunk (GT) Road or the ‘N-5’ route and watch and experience the working of the National Highways & Motorway Police (NH&MP) officials.

Most of the signboards indicating directions or speed limits have either disappeared or never re-painted. The load of traffic has increased manifolds over the last decade or so but the NH&MP officials on duty seem to have not noticed the fact at all.

More and more structures and human settlements are emerging along the N-5 or the existing one have been expanding, at some places touching almost the verge of the shoulders of N-5 and yet no preventive actions taken.

One can notice the warning signs announcing ‘Any construction 200 feet from the shoulder of the road is illegal’ but this is grossly flouted with even greater numbers of road-side hotels and kiosks springing up with immunity, increasing the chances of some serious accidents.

The bikers, three-wheelers and even animal drawn carts are moving on N-5 disturbing the flow of traffic and yet no NH&MP official even cast a glance towards them.

The heavily over-loaded trucks and trailers, crawling at snail’s pace are frequently over-taking, causing traffic disruption and jams, especially while passing through the cities and towns on the N-5 and yet the NH&MP officials are seen nowhere around to take corrective measures.

The only duty the NH&MP officials, apparently, are performing most efficiently to monitor speed limit of motorists, especially on the fringes of cities and towns. One may find the warning signs regarding speed limit while driving through the towns and cities but this scribe observed that most of those have disappeared.

Earlier the speed limit for populated areas was 70 km per hour and on stretches out of the urban areas was 100 km per hour. But now it was told by the NH&MP officials that the speed limit through the populated areas has been reduced further to 50 km per hour.

Interestingly, there are no measures put in place to check over-loading or slow speeding, causing great disruption in smooth flow of traffic. Once upon a time, Mr Pervez Rathore, who was working as the Deputy Inspector-General in the NH&MP tried to introduce some practical steps to check and prevent over-loading, especially by the truckers, but all those stations and weighing stations he established have become inoperative now.

Now the only aspects the NH&MP apparently paying most attention is the use of ‘Speed Check Cameras’ and to check use of phone while driving, or the use of seat belt! And the objective seems to impose heavy fines on motorists crossing the speed limit only, that too at the entry-exit points into towns and cities on the N-5.

But the most irritating factor that at most of such spots the warning signs indicating the speed limit to be followed are missing.

We believe the NH&MP can do a lot better if it may start paying attention at traffic load management by checking over loading, lane violations (especially by heavily overloaded trucks and trailers), and slow driving, which are most troublesome factors in the smooth flow of traffic on our roads, highways and motorways.

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