Saturday, July 25, 2009

Heavy bike import doubled in Pakistan

The import of heavy bikes has been doubled in Pakistan despite the 200 percent custom duty and CC fine on imorted vehicles. The prices of the imported heavy bikes increase threefold in Pakistan, but the youth bikers don't bother about that, said a survey conducted among heavy bike dealers and riders in Lahore city.
The survey said that heavy bikes dealers were importing bikes from 250cc to 2000cc being made in Japan, Germany, Italy, America, China. Some of the most favourites bikes among Pakistani bikeriders are Harley Davidson, BMW and Ducati, which are being sold from Rs 500,000 to 2.2 million.
A heavy bike dealer in Lahore, Ahsan Butt said that during the last five years, a record number of heavy bikes had been imported in Pakistan that showed how the young generation was crazy about motorbikes.
Another dealer Waqar Ahmed said that the youth belonging to elite class of the society could easily buy an imported bike costing 2.5 million, but the government should reduce the amount of custom duty and fine for other buyers. If the government allows import of heavy bikes on less duty, this trade can be developed into an industry, he said.
On the other hand, despite all the measures, the government has failed to provide youth with an attracting racing track to curb the menace of one-wheeling and motorcycle racing on city roads. The sport has now become a profession for youths, who are playing at the hands of gamblers in Lahore. The practice of one-wheeling and motorcycle racing on city roads has claimed the lives of more than 150 wheelers in the last two years, according to reports published in different newspapers. At least 15 people die every year on Independence Day after indulging in one-wheeling and motorcycle racing.
As many as 15 persons lost their lives and over 400 sustained injuries while performing one-wheeling on roads in the provincial capital and the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi during the celebrations of Independence Day this year. All the victims were between 16 to 25 years of age.
According to the official count, 24 boys have died while performing one-wheeling on roads but police sources revealed that the actual number of deaths by racing and wheeling was more than thrice that because it could not be confirmed whether the others died in accidents or while performing one-wheeling.
It has been learned during a survey that these racers and wheelers occupy Canal Road in Lahore on Sunday morning to perform the bloody practice of one-wheeling. Professional gamblers also go there to put their money at stake. They entice the youths to get involved in this practice on the pretext of giving them money. They also provoke them by terming this disastrous practice as passion.
At the direction of these gamblers the youth of ordinary families indulge in one-to-one and group races. The main areas where one-wheelers and racers perform their foul tricks include The Mall, Jail Road, Lake Road, Main Boulevard (Gulberg), Liberty Roundabout, Fortress Stadium and Defence.
The Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) constructed a dirt bike-track with a cost of Rs 2.2 million (US$36,231) at Jallo Park, which was inaugurated by former Punjab Sports minister Naeemullah Shahani on Feb. 18, 2004. The track is one-kilometer long and 18 to 20 feet wide, but PHA had to close it after a short time, as it could neither catch the attention of motorcycle racers nor divert them from City roads.
The Punjab government also introduced a strict penalty on one-wheeling in public places by passing the Provincial Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2005. According to the amended act, passed by Punjab Assembly, whoever rides a motorbike on one wheel and consequently puts lives and property in danger, is liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend up to six months or with a fine that may go up to Rs 5,000 (US$82). Moreover, the motorbike of the offender can be forfeited at the time of conviction of the accused.
But even after taking this step, the problem has not been solved yet as the flocks of motorcyclists and one-wheelers can be seen on city roads, especially on Saturday and Sunday nights. When asked, one of the youth namely Sajid Butt said that he could not resist performing one-wheeling. He said that he had lost one of his legs in an accident caused by one-wheeling but still he could ride his bike on one wheel better than many others.

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