Ring Road Police take charge today City traffic police resent new authority
LAHORE, Dec 31: The Ring Road Police, consisting of 300 traffic wardens, will begin its operations from Tuesday (today) on three sections of the 86-kilometer Lahore Ring Road. The move has drawn criticism from the City Traffic Police for handing over the road’s operational control to the Lahore Ring Road Authority. According to them, the new force is a parallel police using city police’s human and physical resources.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will inaugurate the road at Abdullah Gull Interchange on Tuesday (today).
The Ring Road Police wearing khaki trousers and shirts did rehearsals on the road on Monday ahead of the inauguration.
One section of the ring road from Babu Sabu to Niazi Shaheed Chowk Interchange, considered to be congested and prone to traffic violations, will be in the control of the City Traffic Police while three other sections stretching from Niazi Shaheed Interchange to Kamahan Road Interchange will be regulated by the Ring Road Police. The three sections are 70 kilometers long.
The Ring Road Police has drawn a senior superintendent of police (SSP), two DSPs and six inspectors from the Punjab police and 300 best wardens from the Lahore City Traffic Police for one year on a lucrative incentive.
A City Traffic Police source told Dawn that 240 wardens had successfully been regulating traffic on the ring road for the last two years, but powerful bureaucrats managed to convince the Punjab chief minister to form the Lahore Ring Road Authority under the command of a DMG officer and launch a traffic police parallel to the city traffic police.
He said the police authorities made no efforts to convey to the chief minister that police working could only be effectively supervised by the Police Department officials keeping in view their expertise.
The source said the bureaucrats managed to get approved the establishment of the Ring Road Police from the chief minister in Aug 2012 despite resistance by three previous chief traffic officers that the Ring Road being the part of the provincial capital must be under the operational control of the police.
The LRRA Act of 2011 does not mention the role of new traffic police.
He said the LRRA had temporarily got wardens from the City Traffic Police which was already under-staffed.
The authority will recruit its wardens this year and the City Traffic Police wardens would be repatriated to their mother department.
Because of the ever-increasing traffic on the city roads, the city traffic authorities had to call traffic wardens from other city districts and old traffic police officials to meet the shortage.
The source said the police authorities would take up the matter of the Ring Road Police with the chief minister to convince him that the traffic regulation was the integral part of the Police Department and that supervision of a police force by other than police would lead to confusion.
Ring Road Police SSP Salman Ali Khan said though it had borrowed wardens from the Punjab police on deputation, the authority had arranged vehicles, motorcycles and speed limit cameras from its own funds.
He said the Ring Road Police would enforce traffic rules and regulations on three sections of Ring Road, its adjacent service lanes and side roads in three shifts. It is authorized to check violations and issue fine tickets to violators. The area to be manned by Ring Road Police is the either side of 35-kilomtere Ring Road stretching from Niazi Shaheed Interchange to Kamahan Road Interchange. A 35-kilometre service lane will also be manned by the Ring Road Police.
The SSP parried a question regarding the parallel traffic police and CTP’s reservations that the police was being created by the DMG officers to establish their hegemony on the police department.
He said the wardens would return to their mother department after induction of new recruitments and proper training.
He said he being in charge of the Ring Road Police would be fully authorized in its operational control.