ATTOCK, Nov 3: Excessive sand-mining along the Attock-Sanjwal Highway throughout the past year ultimately resulted in the death of four people on Friday as an Attock-bound coach fell into a 200 feet deep ravine.

A 500-metre portion of the road had almost totally collapsed with only a few feet for the vehicles to ply on.

Furthermore, the authorities concerned had not constructed a concrete wall on the road which could have averted such an accident.

As a result, an Attock-bound passenger van fell into the ravine near Dhoke Jogian Village on Friday,. As a result, four people including three women died, while nine others were injured.

“If the road was rehabilitated or protected by a concrete wall, such a fatal accident would not have occurred,” a resident said.

Residents said they had repeatedly brought the issue to the attention of authorities concerned including the local administration, mineral development and highway departments but no one had taken action.

Frequent media reports were also published regarding the excessive sand-mining and the possible damage to the road, but the authorities concerned had ignored these, they maintained.

The only action taken by the highway department was placing warning boards and markings along the road to warn motorists of the danger, a resident said.

The road connects Attock, Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), Sanjwal and the artillery regiment training centre to the G.T. Road. It is also used for transportation of arms and ammunition between POF Wah Cantonment and Sanjwal. Residents said the departments concerned were responsible for the accident as the road section had collapsed due to their ‘negligence’.

They maintained that under the mining safety rules and regulations, miners cannot extract sand within 100 metres of a highway. However, the influential miners in Attock disregarded the rules and continued digging very close to the road.

Apparently due to this excessive sand-mining along the Attock-Sanjwal Highway, the road near Dhoke Jogian almost collapsed but the authorities concerned have still not taken steps to protect it.

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