SWAT: The residents of Kalam and its adjacent areas have said that government failed to construct the bridges, washed away during the 2010 flood on Bahrain-Kalam road.

They said that absence of bridges was causing severe inconvenience and hardships to locals as well as tourists.

They said that the 32-kilometre road with 12 bridges was destroyed by flood in 2010. They added that work on the reconstruction of road was initiated with the funding of Asian Development Bank in 2017.

“Though 90 per cent work has been completed on the road yet no bridge on the road has been completed. It has created plethora of problems to the locals as well as to tourists,” said Hayat Mohammad Kalami, a resident of Kalam.

Several people have lost lives in accidents on the road

The local residents said that several accidents occurred due to absence of the bridges while blockade of road was a common phenomenon.

According to record about 23 persons have died and 134 injured in these accidents this year.

Nazir Ahmad, another resident of Kalam, said that owing to absence of traffic police, the road often remained blocked.

The locals said that work was underway on the bridges but Federal Minister for Communication Murad Saeed ordered to stop the work on the pretext that substandard material was being used in it.

After work on the bridges was stopped, the contractor left everything on the road.

“It is actually a political tussle between PML-N and PTI as the contractor belonged to PML-N. The government stopped the work and cancelled the contract due to which people suffer,” said former MPA Syed Jafar Shah.

He said that the 30-minute distance took three hours to reach from Bahrain to Kalam. He said that the influx of tourists to Kalam would create further problems for the commuters and motorists

PML-N provincial president Amir Muqam, whose company had been awarded the contract, alleged that the PTI government was victimising him.

“Work on the bridges was underway in a full swing. Necessary work was already completed but the PTI government did not want its completion and terminated our contract on false pretext of slow progress,” he said.

The PML-N leader said that his son’s company won bid for the second tender. The government once again cancelled the tender when it came to know that it was his son’s company, he alleged.

Several attempts were made to talk to Federal Minister Murad Saeed to get his version but neither he nor his personal secretary received the calls.

However, Deputy Commissioner Junaid Khan, when contacted, said that the tender was being approved. Once the tender was awarded to a new contractor, work on the bridges would be started immediately, he added.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2021

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