‘Sindh govt mulling over introducing tracking devices in motorcycles’
KARACHI: The Sindh government is set to make it mandatory for bikers to install tracking devices in their motorcycles by introducing necessary legislation — a decision which many stakeholders believe is “ambitious” and “technically impossible” for a host of reasons.
“It has become hugely important for us to make this happen,” a senior official in the provincial home ministry told Dawn.
Officials said Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal in a recent follow-up meeting with motorcycle manufacturers, chief of the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) and senior officials from home, excise and taxation, and transport ministries hinted that the government was seriously mulling over drafting a piece of legislation to curb increasing street crimes.
“Motorcycles are being used in 95 per cent of all crimes in the entire province,” the official added.
During the meeting, officials quoted Mr Siyal as saying that the decision to legislate for curbing street crime was taken on the recommendations of the apex committee.
“The Sindh government has decided to amend the laws dealing with street crimes,” said Mr Siyal.
He said the provincial government would also contact judiciary and legal fraternity to draft the anticipated legislation.
Officials claimed the manufacturers had agreed with the provincial government’s desire to install affordable trackers in new motorcycles.
They said one-time price of the device would be charged with the registration fee of a two-wheeler.
However, the relevant authorities are still devising a strategy to get trackers fixed on old motorcycles.
“It will be a gigantic task but it has to be done through positive campaigns,” said an official.
He added the government would make sure that people should not spend heavy sums on the purchase of the tracking device.
Some key stakeholders give certain technical and realistic reasons which show that it would be very difficult to get the plan implemented.
More than five million motorcycles are being used in Sindh with more than three million only in its sprawling capital.
Mohammad Sabir Shaikh, president of the Association of Pakistan Motorcycle Assemblers, told Dawn that out of more than three million motorcycles in Karachi, some 2.5 million were registered with the city while the rest were registered with other districts of the country.
He said almost 90pc of the motorcycles being used in the country were of 70cc which had its drawbacks.
“It has poor wiring and a battery which cannot support the tracking device. The government should know this fact before making any future legislation.”
However, a source in the industry said tracking devices designed for motorcycles generally used in Pakistan were available.
Mr Shaikh said the cheapest tracker cost some Rs5,000. Besides, the user must have a smartphone and know-how of the tracker.
Officials said the manufacturers representing some known and expensive companies had attended the meeting with the minister.
However, Mr Shaikh said most people purchased Chinese motorcycles because of their low prices and since he represented their association, he should have also been consulted before taking a decision.
A shopkeeper at Akbar Road, the city’s main motorcycle market, said that if the government had not yet succeeded in getting every biker to wear a helmet, then how could it convince people to purchase the tracker?