Khanabal-Sarnal road turns into death trap

KHALID GUL

Islamabad, Jan 9: The stretch of the Khanabal-Pahalagam (KP) road in Islamabad town is turning to be a death trap for the pedestrians. Reason: The ill planning of the Roads and Building department which has raised the foot path in a way that pedestrians are forced to walk amidst the road.
 Last year about four pedestrians lost their lives while many sustained serious injuries after being hit by the moving vehicles on this busy road in Islamabad town.
 “Recently on December, 20 , two youth in their early twenties lost their lives  after the passenger vehicle and Tata mobile collided with each other and hit the duo near Gulshanabad area of the town,” residents said. They youth were identified as Azhar Ahmad Want, 22, of Laizbal and Sahnawaz Wani, 23, of Sarnal area of the town.
 The residents said that the duo was walking on the road side as the height of the foot path is so high that nobody can walk over it. “The very next day, a pregnant lady sustained injuries after a Sumo vehicle and auto rickshaw collided with each other near Women College, Islamabad and later hit her,” said the locals.
 Two more pedestrians lost their lives last year at Sarnal and General Bus Stand after being hit by the moving vehicles while many others were injured. The residents are up in arms against the R&B for putting their lives at risk . “We fail to understand the wisdom of the R&B authorities. Not even a 20 year old can walk on the foot path on either side of the lane as it is at least 3 feet above the main road,” said Ajaz Ahmad, of Bakshiabad.
 He said the foot path lacks any symmetry and the pedestrians have to step up and down several times if they intend to walk on the footpath. “The authorities have left gaps near the residential houses to pave way for their vehicles and as such one has to step up and down after every five meter distance while walking on the footpath,” Ajaz added.
 Residents, said that the foot paths are being used by shopkeepers for their own purpose. “As the foot path from Khanabal to Sarnal is useless, the shopkeepers have encroached them and are using it for their own purpose,” said they.
 Residents said that that plenty of gaps have been kept for crossing on the dividers near the houses of the influential people and kith and kin of engineers and contractors, thus making no sense of a divider.
 “Due to these numerous gaps the chances of accidents increase as the vehicles take a U turn through each gap,” said Rayees Ahmad, of Laizbal.
 He said that though the money was spent on crores but work is still incomplete and the central verge is still a non- entity. “The pedestrians are scared of walking on the stretch during evening hours as the vehicles move at a fast speed,” he added.
 Though the construction of foot-paths in the residential areas from Khanabal to Mattan was also under the proposal, but that has not been accomplished.
 “Our children are forced to walk amidst the road, as the foot path from Khanabal to Sarnal is useless,” said Farooq Ahmad of Iqbalabad.
 He added that money spent on construction of footpaths from Khanabal to Sarnal Check post has totally gone waste.
 “As several coaching centers and schools are also located on the KP road, the lives of the students are thus put to risk,” say the residents.
 They said that the road is one of the busiest in the town with Bus stand also located there.
 The residents have decided to move court against the R&B.
 “Due to the callous approach of the R&B we are losing precious lives and the tax payers money has also gone waste. Nobody is  paying any heed to our pleas. So, we have no choice but to move High Court  and file Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to seek action against the erring officials responsible for the mess,” said Riyaz Ahmad.
 Residents allege that the widening of this much hyped 110 crore Khanabal-Pahagam (KP) road  project has failed to live up to the set standards as major portion of the work is still in complete or spoiled for petty interests.
 Citing another example they said the construction of drainage on Islamabad town stretch of the road as well as the peripheries which is virtually defunct.
 “Plenty of money was spent on the drainage system of the road in the town and the adjoining areas but that has proved to be a total failure as even a small downpour can literally inundate the whole area,” said the residents of Sadiqabad.
 They said that due to the defunct drainage system the fear of heavy floods is looming large. The electric poles erected by the electric wing of the Roads and Building department (R and B) worth crores in the year 2004 residents say, are only made functional during Yatra period.
 .The work on the project was started way back in 2003 and after missing two deadlines it was completed in 2009 only.
 Sources in the R&B department blame the engineers posted in Islamabad and Seer sub-divisions for the whole mess by resorting to diversion of funds and filling up their own pockets as well as those of politicians and bureaucrats.
 Chief Engineer, R&B, Mushtaq Ahmad Lone did not pick up the phone despite repeated attempts.
 Executive Engineer, R& B, Islamabad division, Bashir Ahmad Bhat when contacted admitted that the foot path is high. “It is true that the height of the footpath is such that the pedestrians find it difficult to walk over it. We are shortly convening a meeting wherein we will decide what we can do with it,” said Bhat , however, he blamed the residents for forcing them to leave gaps near their residential houses. “People did not cooperate while construction of foot paths and forced us to keep gaps near their entry gates,” said Bhat.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 10 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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