Motorcycle rickshaws- a nuisance for Lahorites
Posted on 9 months ago
LAHORE: An increasing number of motorcycle rickshaws mostly driven by underage drivers having no documents ply on the city roads continue posing not only life threat for the Lahorites but also polluting environment badly under the very nose of authorities, The Frontier Post has learned.
The illegal conversion of motorcycles into motorcycle rickshaws has been continued but the concerned authorities including Transport Department, City District Government Lahore (CDGL) and City Traffic Police seem not interested in regulating these in the best interest of the residents. The sorry side of the issue is that the politicians just to secure their electoral support in their respective constituencies are not highlighting the drastic impacts of this menace at appropriate forums.
Punjab Government under the directions of Lahore High Court had to phase out two-stroke auto rickshaws, motorcycle rickshaws, two-stroke transport vehicles and diesel buses etc from the big cities of Punjab by December 2007 and promote 4-stroke CNG rickshaws culture in the province but no compliance of these directions was made by the present government.
Though under the policy, the Punjab Transport Department banned the registration of two-stroke engine vehicles including rickshaws as public transport in Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan since September 1, 2005 but no attention was given to motorcycle rickshaw. The authorities focused 2-stroke rickshaws only to get rid of pollution and did not bother to regulate illegal motorcycle rickshaws operation that is causing serious population hazards.
According to a rough estimate, about 25000 motorcycle rickshaws are plying on the city roads especially on the congested roads where other public vehicles can not ply. These rickshaws carry over half million people from one place to another daily especially women folk. These have never been accredited by any authorities as public transport mean but their number in the provincial capital is multiplying with every passing day as no body is there to check.
Some people opined the increase in the number of motorcycle rickshaws was owing to deteriorating public transport system in the provincial capital causing enormous problems for the commuters in moving from one place to another. Moreover ever-declining number of buses at urban routes, restrictions on mini buses and wagons as well as vulnerable and ad hoc government policies towards transport system provided an ample opportunity to unemployed youths to start a cheap and easy to handle transport business.
Interestingly, for the conversion of motorcycles into motorcycle rickshaws, no big infrastructure is required. Rather than mighty mechanical works, a road-side motorcycle mechanic can converted a motorcycle into a motorcycle rickshaw by replacing rare wheel of motorcycle with a readymade rickshaw body. All this process costs only Rs 60000 to 75000 for a complete rickshaw. In the prevailing harsh economic conditions, such meager amount attracts the unemployed force especially the youth to start this business and earn daily average income of Rs 500 to 1000 that is not possible without investing a hefty amount. All these factors contributed in the drastic increase of motorcycle rickshaws in the city.
Above all there is no documentation required to become a motorcycle rickshaw driver and neither any traffic warden nor any other authority stop motorcycle rickshaw playing on the road. If any traffic warden or environment department staff takes any action against motorcycle rickshaw, maximum penalty is ranging from Rs 200 to 300 as challan Fee.
Dr Kaleem serving at emergency department of Mayo Hospital claimed one of three accident cases being shifted to the public hospitals is due to motorcycle rickshaws driven recklessly by the underage drives. Rescue 1122 sources also confirmed road side accidents are high in the congested areas of city because of motorcycle rickshaws speedily driven by drivers having no license. Edhi Foundation sources said mortality rate in the accidents occurred in the city congested localities and suburban areas are high just because of motorcycle rickshaws.
Traffic police sources said even they were directed by the high ups to overlook the violations being committed by motorcycle rickshaws as government had the only option to phase out 'Tongas' from provincial capital city. "They did not keep in mind the consequences of motorcycle rickshaws and now Lahorites are paying the price of that wrong decision, they added.
City Traffic Police officials said Circular Road, Northern City including parts of GT Road, Railway Station, General Bus Stand, Multan Road, Khokhar Road and other parts are usually jam with traffic many times a day.
They said they have tried to restrict the movement of motorcycle rickshaws in the city but absence of any adequate policy prevents them to continue operation. However, they said it was no solution to the problem to restrict these vehicles in specific areas rather than its alternative must be provided, adding that traffic was a neglected field.
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