PESHAWAR, Jan 30: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday issued show cause notices to the federal communication and finance secretaries, the National Highway Authority (NHA) chairman and two other officials for explaining the delay in construction of Peshawar Northern Bypass Road despite their assurances given two years ago about speedy work on the project.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Khalid Mahmood directed the two secretaries, the chairman, the director general of Peshawar Development Authority and the provincial secretary of communication and works department to submit their replies and explain why the show cause notice should not be converted into a contempt of court case as they had deliberately violated the court’s order.
It later fixed the next hearing for Feb 27 directing the officials in question to submit their respective replies.
The court has taken suo moto notice of the issue after delay in completion of the projects.
The judges observed that in Aug 2010, the relevant NHA and communication ministry officials had made a commitment that the project would be completed within three months.
It added that Northern Bypass passing through the northern outskirts of the provincial capital was vital for the city due to increasing traffic mess on its major roads, including University Road and Ring Road.
The bench voiced annoyance when legal adviser of NHA Sikandar Rashid and member of NHA Yousaf Ali said the phase one of the project would be completed in June 2013, while there was a possibility of completion of the next two phases by 2020.
The chief justice asked why work had not been begun on the next two phases. The officials replied that funds had not been allocated for those phases.
The chief justice expressed displeasure over it and observed how wrong commitment could be made to the court.
Deputy attorney general Mohammad Iqbal Mohmand said officials of NHA and communication ministry had made the said commitment in 2010 and he had contacted several officials in this respect but to no avail.
He added that the federal communication minister belonged to Peshawar but even then, the project was moving on a snail’s pace.
The bench regretted that the project of Northern Bypass had been placed on a backburner and according to schedule, it was likely to be completed by 2020.
It added that vehicular traffic on University Road up to Hayatabad Township and on GT Road had become absolutely unmanageable as the capacity of roads were considerably less then the pressure of vehicular traffic and because of frequent jamming of traffic on roads thousands of commuters remained stuck up for hours.
In its order, the bench observed that it was shameful for all state functionaries that they had been treating people of the area with contempt and had not been fulfilling their legal and constitutional obligation.
It added that commuters had been turning into psychological patients due to chaotic traffic and day was not far away when people of the metropolitan city might agitate and then the situation would be unmanageable for the federal and provincial governments.
“In that situation, the state functionaries will be held responsible as they had been delaying the project of Northern Bypass,” it observed.