RAWALPINDI: Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha on Sunday asked the district administration of Murree to ensure safety arrangements for tourists and locals during expected rain and snowfall in Murree.
According to the forecast of the Meteorological Department, heavy snowfall is expected in Murree with strong winds and thundershowers on Monday.
It also warned that snowfall may disrupt and cause closure of roads in Murree, Galiyat, Naran, Kaghan, Dir, Swat, Kohistan, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Shangla, Astore, Hunza, Skardu, Neelum valley, Bagh, Poonch and Haveli.
Tourists are advised to remain extra cautious during the spell. Temperatures are likely to fall (2-4)°C after the spell.
A Met Department official said that a westerly wave is affecting western and upper parts of the country and likely to intensify during the next 24 hours. He said that on Monday, rain-wind/thunderstorm is expected in Islamabad, Potohar region, Kashmir and GB.
The commissioner inspected check posts of the local police and traffic police on Express Highway and inquired about the number of vehicles entering Murree and the traffic advisory given to passengers.
He asked all police personnel to be on alert and remain in constant touch with the control room, adding that the district administration should implement an emergency plan and every department should perform its responsibility. He said that all snow removal machinery should be kept on a standby and attendance of staff should also be ensured.
Last year, more than 22 people died in Murree because their vehicles were trapped on snow-covered roads and they remained stranded in their cars. This year, the provincial government has already chalked out a plan in December to tackle heavy snowfall in the hill station.
The assignments had been divided in different provincial departments and local administration. The deputy commissioner will monitor the situation along with district police officer and executive engineer of Highways.
According to the plan, the clearance of roads will be the responsibility of the highway department and National Highway Authority (NHA) will clear the Expressway. Forest department will ensure the trimming and clearance of fallen trees and Rawalpindi Waste Management Company (RWMC) will clean city streets.
Motorway police will perform duties of traffic management on the Expressway while traffic management and parking on all other roads will be the responsibility of the traffic police.
A central control room and 13 facilitation centres have been set up for the convenience of tourists, besides 30 CCTV cameras have been installed for continuous monitoring of roads and traffic.
Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2023
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