The road from Transit Camp to Saddar is in poor state. — White Star
The road from Transit Camp to Saddar is in poor state. — White Star

Traveling on the dilapidated roads in the city and cantonment areas has become a difficult job for motorists due to indifference of the civic bodies towards their repair and maintenance.

Most of the roads in the city have developed potholes while the ones in the cantonment areas are also in poor shapes.

The roads have become bumpy and accident-prone. The Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation (RMC) is paying no attention to its repair and resolve problems of the residents. The citizens are of the view that these roads will add to their problems in the coming monsoon season.

Though an amount of Rs111 million had been allocated by the Chaklala Cantonment Board and Rs200 million by the Rawalpindi Cantonment Bard in the ongoing fiscal year for the repair and reconstruction of roads, not a single repair work has been initiated so far.

The broken roads include Asghar Mall Road, Saidpur Road, Ratta Amral Road, Kashmiri Bazaar Road, Liaquat Road, Jinnah Road, Iqbal Road, Ganjmandi Road, Jamia Masjid Road, Ghaznavi Road, Pirwadhai Road, Khayaban-i-Sir Syed, Gawalmandi Road, Farooq-i-Azam Road, Bohar Bazaar Road, Sarafa Bazaar Road, Raja Zafarul Haq Road, Circular Road, Kohati Bazaar Road, Sadiqabad Road, Tipu Road and Dhingi Kohi.

The situation is worst on those roads where work to lay water supply and sewerage lines is underway. Motorists on these stretches are facing traffic jams.

“Power utility companies such as Iesco, SNGPL and Wasa dug up the roads for laying the supply lines and did not repair the roads,” an official of RMC told Dawn.

The Kashmiri Bazaar Road which also needs urgent repairs. — White Star
The Kashmiri Bazaar Road which also needs urgent repairs. — White Star

He said Wasa, Iesco and SNGPL did not get NOC from civic bodies and after laying the pipelines left the trenches unfilled. He said the careless digging on the main roads had turned the city into ruins creating inconvenience for the residents.

Talking to this reporter, the residents said the civic authority collected taxes from them but in return provided them no facilities.

“Potholes have developed on Kashmiri Bazaar Road and we have to travel on the road with all odds as there is no alternate to it,” said Nasir Mir, a resident of Dhoke Ratta.

Suhail Malik, of Dhoke Hassu, said they were facing numerous problems due to the poor condition of the roads. Travel on the city roads is time consuming but we have no other option, he added.

“Motorists find it difficult to drive on the roads due to countless potholes which result in traffic snarls at several places. Even public transporters face difficulty in driving on these roads and cabbies refuse to go to downtown,” said Mohammad Tanveer, a resident of Jamia Masjid Road.

When contacted, PTI MNA Sheikh Rashid Shafique admitted that the condition of roads in the city had deteriorated and “we require some time to improve the roads.”

He said the RMC had enough funds to do the job but the PML-N failed to work in the past year. He said the PML-N leaders spent public funds on other projects just to make commissions and ignored the main development work.

However, PML-N local leader Malik Shakil Awan said the Punjab government was to be blamed for the condition of the roads. He said the provincial government froze RMC’s development accounts for the fiscal year 2018-19 and the RMC could not repair the roads.

In cantonment areas, RCB elected member Hafiz Hussain Ahmed said the civic body had no funds to reconstruct the roads and spent the available amount on repair of roads in selective areas.

He said the civic body allocated less money for development projects in the last fiscal year. Most of the elected members recommended to spend the money on water supply projects as it was the main demand of the local people.

When contacted, Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB) Vice President Raja Irfan Imtiaz said the elected members had been demanding repair of roads but the government did not release funds.

He said last year Rs111 million had been allocated for Chaklala Cantonment areas but the amount was not spent due to elections and other reasons.

However, he said, Rs197 million would be spent on the construction of roads this year and work would be started after monsoon.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2019