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SAHIWAL: Up to 20 streetlight poles on the overhead bridge of Chichawatni city have been broken down in the last three years, thanks to a tussle between the Highways Department and the Chichawatni Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) as no department owns them, Dawn has learnt.

TMA sources claim the repair work will cost Rs9.2 million.

The bridge constructed on Burewala-Faisalabad Road in 2004-05 facilitates both light and heavy traffic.

The provincial highways department constructed the bridge and installed poles on either side of the bridge. Department officials say they handed over the bridge to the TMA after its completion.

Highways Superintendent Engineer Anwar Malik Ali said the issue was unresolved because the department did not transfer the land ownership of the bridge to the TMA.

Local residents say the light poles remained partially functional for two to three years and later started falling apart one by one as no one repaired them.

Deputy District Officer of Roads Umar said the district roads department had nothing to do with the poles.

Chichawattni TMO Wali Muhammad told Dawn that no one had officially asked the municipality to take care of the poles.

“As the structure doesn’t belong to it, the TMA cannot spend funds on the bridge,” Wali Muhammad added.

A highways department official said the fiasco stemmed from department’s verbal orders of handing over the bridge to the TMA.

Multan Electric Power Company’s Muhammad Yasin said the company had dispatch electricity bills of light poles to the TMA but it had not paid the bills which forced them to cut off the connection.

Wali Muhammad said the TMA had no problem in taking over poles but the highways department must clear outstanding dues.