ATTOCK, Dec 12: Repair work of the damaged Attock-Sanjwal Road may be further delayed as confusion persists over which authority is responsible for the construction work.
Previously, the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) Sanjwal's administration had directed the Cantonment Board Sanjwal (CBS) to initiate reconstruction of the road following the accident of November 1 in which four people had died and nine others were injured.
The accident occurred after the coach carrying the passengers fell in a deep ravine while plying on the damaged portion of the road.
The POF authorities then asked the CBS to start reconstruction work of the damaged portion, but the latter refused to do so.
District Coordination Officer (DCO) Attock Mohammad Iqbal told Dawn that he had also requested the cantonment board to repair the damaged portion of the road near Jogian Village.
He said he had hoped CBS would start repair without any further delay, but the CBS authorities replied that they were not responsible for the reconstruction of the road.
In a letter written to the Managing Director POF, the CBS stated that the board was not under the administrative control of POF as both were independent organisations working under Director General Cantonments and Military lands.
Secondly, it quoted the 1937 Act stating that the board could not legally repair the Attock-Sanjwal Road because the land was declared A-1 land on which CBS was not allowed construction.
Furthermore, it stated that the road had previously been constructed by POF in 2004, and the CBS had not been involved in construction or repair works since 1980.
Executive Officer CBS Hizer Shujah, when contacted, told Dawn that the board lacked financial resources as the estimated cost of the repair work was Rs25 million.
“I don’t understand why POF is asking CBS to repair the road while it had previously done construction itself. POF also has sufficient funds for the purpose, and the road is mainly used by the heavy POF vehicles,” he observed.
“If the road is closed to traffic, POF will be affected the most,” he said.
When asked about the utilisation of toll tax being collected by the board from all vehicles plying the roads, the executive officer said a total of Rs15 million was collected annually from the five major roads of Sanjwal cantonment which hardly met CBS expenses.
Following the November 1 accident, the district administration, POF, CBS and the Punjab Highway department are all holding each other responsible for the repair of the road.
Even the public representatives have not taken any action for the reconstruction of the damaged portion despite the frequent public complaints.