November 5, 2019 at 7:17 pm
CHITRAL: The dilapidated condition of Airport Road and its worsening day by day has caused to earn the ire and abhorrence of a large segment of the local people towards the PTI government which runs government in the province for the last six years during which not a single penny is said to be utilized on its repair and maintenance.
The road has virtually been reduced to a large number of ditches and troughs with retaining walls collapsed along the river collapsed in most of the places which not only posed threats to the motorists and the pedestrians alike.
The road not only connects the city with the airport but it also links the Garam Chashma and Karimabad valleys and the northern villages Balach, Singur, Seen Lusht and Dolomus due to which remains busy with the commuters.
The highly enraged public is seen to vent their spleen through the social media which remains replete with posts containing sarcastic and pinching remarks against the government while they also scolded the elected representatives, the sole MNA and MPA from Chitral, who belonged to MMA.
Muhammad Rahim Baig Laal of Singoor, a user of the road on daily basis, said that the Airport Road in Chitral brings as much bad name to the government as did the BRT in Peshawar as he finds every commuter in the public transport send a bunch of curse and hex on the government.
He said that the anger of the people sprang to the new heights when the chief minister Mahmood Khan visited Chitral last month and travelled on the road to reach the DC office from airport but he did not take any notice of this dilapidated road.
He said that in sending flaks to the government, the workers of the ruling party PTI are equally active while a local leader Aminur Rahman, who had fought the election of zilla council from the party platform, took out protest procession and staged sit-in to criticize the indifference of the government.
The alignment and width of the road is said to be essentially the same of the period of the former princely state ending in 1969 as in most of the places in the roads, two vehicles coming from opposite directions cannot cross each other as one of them go in reverse gear searching enough space.
Zaffar Ali Shah of Balach village, in his 70s, said that it was necessarily the same road which the former rulers of Chitral used in 1940s when they came to use motor vehicles in this road although it was first brought here in 1927.
He said that it was the first blacktopped road in the district in early 1970s when the work of blacktopping was carried out without its expansion even by an inch and proper structural work to straighten it.
Mr. Shah said that during the last during the last two decades, more than fifty persons died as a result of fatal traffic accidents that occurred on the road due to its narrowness and the vehicles plunged into the river.
Recently, the Garam Chashma road has been federalized as a result of which it is a segment in a length of two kilometers while this new development of federalization has placed it at the purview of National Highway Authority from the Communication and works department (C&W).
The executive engineer of C&W Division, Lower Chitral, Usman Khan, told Dawn that although the road has been federalized but the competent authority can approve the refurbishment work of the road in a length of first two kilometers to his department which was in the pipeline.
He said that the under the ‘Beautification of Chitral City’ plan of the provincial government, the department had earmarked a huge sum of Rs. 130 million for the renovation of the road which was in dilapidated condition.
However, he said that the widening of the road is not included in the project and it will be blacktopped as ‘widening work’ was out of the mandate of beautification project.
However, some knowledgeable sources in the government, said that the beautification project remains only a pipe-dream for the last two years and even if the funds are released, the provincial government cannot spend in the federalized road of the centre.