PORTIONS of Hub bridge, which connects several cities of Balochistan with Sindh, especially Karachi, have been washed away by recent heavy rains. According to the National Highway Authority (NHA), the bridge, constructed in 1972, has collapsed. This makes Hub Bypass the only alternative route for all sorts of traffic, and that may end up putting the said bypass under pressure because it was never built with that kind of load in mind.
As for the bridge, it was supposed to be rebuilt after 20 years, in 1992, but, unfortunately, upon the completion of its life, the relevant authorities and their qualified engineers found it more ‘practical’ to simply declare the bridge worthy enough even if it had been in a bad shape for a couple of years even back then.
Over the last three decades, the issue of the reconstruction of the bridge was raised on several occasions owing to its dilapidated condition, but somehow the relevant authorities always found it good enough. Now that it has finally collapsed, the relevant authorities — and of course their ‘wonderful’ engineers — should be grateful that it has collapsed without causing any major loss in terms of human life.
It is an opportunity for the relevant authorities to make amends for their past behaviour by reconstructing the bridge and make it actually ‘fine’, and to do it in the shortest possible time. The toll taxes that the authorities collected on a daily basis should be sufficient to build an entirely new bridge.
The pace of reconstruction is critical because the transportation business and trading have been affected badly. There have been shortages of domestic goods as they cannot be supplied to Turbat, Panjgur, Pasni and Gwadar since the collapse of the bridge. This, in turn, has added to the price hike that was already a major concern for the people.
The Balochistan government and the NHA should act promptly and must start the reconstruction process so that transportation and trade may resume and inflation may also be curbed in the affected areas.
Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2022