ISLAMABAD, July 13: Pushcart owners have virtually closed a key loop of Khanna Bridge that connects Lehtrar Road with Islamabad Expressway.
“It has been closed for the last several months because a large number of pushcart owners have occupied the loop,” observed an Islamabad Traffic Police official on condition of anonymity.
The engineering wing of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has over the years failed to provide free access to the loop which creates traffic snarls on Islamabad Expressway.
“Traffic often gets blocked under the Khanna Bridge because the CDA is yet to plan easy access for commuters,” asserted the official.
A large number of public transport also use the closed loop as its stop to drop and pick passengers causing traffic jam and congestion on the road, maintained Ahmed Ali, a daily commuter on the Islamabad Expressway.
A senior official in the engineering wing said that CDA’s new management had yet to pay visits to different points in the city.
“The loop has massive encroachment and no one is there to remove them which led to closure of major loop meant for smooth movement of traffic,” added Noor Rehman, a civil servant.
However, a vendor Raja Ikhlaque selling vegetables on the pushcart at the loop said: “The CDA’s officials have allowed us to run our business at the loop.”
When asked whether he was aware that his business place is located on the public road, the vendor said: “Had this been illegal we would have been asked by the authority to shift the pushcarts to some other place but nobody had ever approached us in this regard.”
“I don’t see any writ of the CDA and even its chairman Nadeem Hasan Asif does not know how to deal with such matters,” said the civil servant Noor Rehman.
“We see accidents almost every second day under the Khanna bridge,” maintained the ITP official.
The police official observed that once the commuters had free access to the loop they were hopeful of smooth movement of traffic on Islamabad Expressway.
Despite multiple attempts the chairman CDA Nadeem Hasan Asif was not available to comment on the matter.
A text message on the mobile phone of the Mr Nadeem was also left unanswered till the filing of this report.