OKARA: The 12.7-kilometere Okara bypass on G.T. Road with six underpasses has become unsafe for motorists, especially for those traveling at night.

A visit to dual carriageway reveals that the 70 per cent of either side is without fencing and dozens of places offer easy entrance to motorists to the road. Service roads near underpasses often remain inundated whenever there is rain.

Thousands of residents of 50 villages of 2/L and 4/L areas and 39/40 Juray village besides Pipli Pehar Road are the worst sufferers of the flawed design of the bypass, says former union council nazim Chaudhry Riazul Haq, of village 6/4L.

The mega project worth Rs650 million started in May 2005 on GT Road with the efforts of then defence minister Rao Sikander Iqbal (late) and was inaugurated by Gen Musharraf.

The passage has developed bumpy cracks creating unease for the travellers from Okara to Lahore. The lane is very uneven and damages the tyres of vehicles. Also, dozens of industrial units, academic institutions and residential colonies have been established along the bypass over the years and because of that burden on service roads has increased. If service roads are maintained, these would be the preferred approach roads for agriculturists.

Their poor condition has forced the road users to create unlawful approaches to the bypass. Since 2005, the National Highway Authority has not constructed bridges on both side roads on 4/L distributary passing from western side (Sahiwal side).

These area residents have to cover a long distance to approach the city. National Highway and Motorway police teams are seen patrolling. Locals have demanded the NHA look into the dilapidated condition of the bypass to make it safe for travellers.

CASE: Two nominated persons and some unidentified accomplices put up resistance to the price control team in village 39/3R on Friday.

As reads the first information report registered by Magistrate Khalid Javid, the price control team checked a petrol pump in village 39/3R and found the fuel nozzle not up to the mark. As the team tried to seal the nozzle, owner Ihsaan Ali along with Iftikhar Ali and few others resisted and threatened with consequences.

The Okara Saddar police registered a case under sections 427, 186 and 506-B of the Pakistan Penal Code and sections 3, 4 and 7 of the Price Control Act 1977.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2020

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