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January 8, 2019

39 gas-run vans impounded as crackdown continues

Karachi

January 8, 2019

Traffic police on Monday ticketed 93 vans, collecting Rs46,500 in fines, impounded 39 vehicles and removed 13 cylinders during an ongoing crackdown against CNG and LGP cylinders installed in school vans.

The crackdown comes in the aftermath of a tragic mishap on Saturday when 13 schoolchildren suffered burn injuries when a school van caught fire in Orangi Town. As the campaign started on Saturday, a total of 63 school vans were ticketed and Rs31,500 was collected in fines, while 37 vans were impounded and 26 cylinders removed.

On Monday, the campaign was initiated near Aisha Bawany School on Sharea Faisal, as the drive continued. Police have also started consultations with the administrations of schools in Karachi to play their role in the elimination of CNG and LPG cylinders from schools vans.

“We are initially just removing the cylinders from the vans,” Traffic DIG Javed Ali Maher told The News. “We are also letting the drivers go while warning them that their vans will be impounded in the next phase.”

The officer said that multiple teams of the traffic police officials led by SSPs are being formed district-wise to ensure the security of schoolchildren who travel in dangerous CNG-run vehicles. “We are also taking the schools’ administrations on board to make sure the implementation occurs. The schools’ administrations will also be responsible if any mishap occurs.”

A safety concern

Karachi has more than 20,000 schools, including over 14,000 private schools, with thousands of private schools’ vans attached with them.

In a majority of the cases, it is not the schools’ administrations that have hired the van contractors, but the parents themselves, without consultation with the schools, said Tariq Shah of the All Private Schools Management Association. On the other hand, van drivers have warned of increasing fees. “We will convert our vehicles to petrol or diesel, but that will increase the fares,” said Zeeshan, a school van contractor.

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