RAWALPINDI: Despite the passage of more than two months, an over 150-year-old bridge and main connection between Rawalpindi city and cantonment areas at Transit Camp is still closed due to the indifferent attitude of Pakistan Railways (PR), Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) and the district administration.

PR’s Rawalpindi division closed the dilapidated bridge over its main track between Rawalpindi and Peshawar after the district administration and the cantonment authorities failed to repair it. The bridge was declared dangerous by railway authorities in September after its dyke wall collapsed.

Railway authorities placed barricades on both sides of the bridge. Due to closer of the bridge, people have been facing hardship and commuters have to take a long detour to enter the cantonment areas, especially Peshawar Road.

PR’s Divisional Superintendent Inamullah told Dawn that there was no plan to open the bridge as it can cause any accident.

Pakistan Railways, RCB and district admin officials pass the buck to each other

He said the railway administration closed the bridge for all types of traffic. In the meantime, he said, they had sent letters to the commissioner and cantonment executive officer to repair the bridge but received no response.

He said that the bridge was over the main track and if it collapses all the train traffic between Karachi and Peshawar would be disturbed. Apart from this, he said the railways did not want any loss of human life.

He said that the repair of bridge was the responsibility of the civic authorities as it was being used for general traffic and there was no railway-related traffic on it. He said the bridge was constructed to facilitate people living in the city and cantonment areas.

The railway track is the dividing line between the city and cantonment areas and bridges over the track are used by commuters travelling between city and cantonment areas.

A senior official of the RCB said that the bridge was not in the limits of the cantonment board so it was the responsibility of the railways or the district administration.

However, he said the RCB was ready to repair the road falling in the limits of the cantonment area from Transit Camp to Bakery Chowk. He said that funds had been allocated in this regard.

On the other hand, the district administration passed the buck to the Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation for repair of the bridge.

A senior official of the district administration said that the bridge’s repair was the responsibility of Pakistan Railways as it was constructed by the railways authorities in the British era and the maintenance of all such bridges was the responsibility of the railways.

“We would only repair the road falling in the limits of the city area,” he added.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2022

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