THIS refers to pathetic condition of roads in the vicinity of the oil installations in Karachi’s Keamari area, which manages over 70 per cent of the country’s petroleum requirements. A large quantity of refined products — gasoline, diesel and petrochemicals — is transported through heavy trucks which carry 50,000 litres of such products. About 1,000 tankers move daily headed for upcountry destinations. For such heavy loads, the roads in the area need to be constructed properly so that they may survive for a reasonable period. Unfortunately, the stakeholders — the Karachi Port Trust, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the provincial government — are least bothered about the upkeep of the area. It seems like Keamari, which contributes to the petroleum supply-chain so much, is not a part of the city.
The heavy rains in August last year had left the roads riddled with potholes, even craters. There is no such thing as a carpeted road in the area for long. While this makes the commuters’ journey painful, vehicles also bear the brunt as their shock absorbers and suspensions are damaged, adding to the financial misery of the people in these troubled times marked by financial crisis.
The condition of the roads — if at all we can wish to call them roads — was further worsened after a couple of rainy spells this year. One can see the dangerous situation when drivers of monstrous trucks loaded with highly explosive products circumnavigate the dirt tracks full of craters to prevent their trucks from turning over.
To make things worse, several unauthorised workshops have cropped up in the area. By the very nature of their work, like, say, silencer welding, these workshops add to the risk in an area having oil installations and moving tankers.
The authorities concerned should pay attention before a tragedy strikes.
Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2021