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    People of Chitral rejects the blacktopping project of Chitral Airport Road without widening

    By Zahiruddin

    CHITRAL: The people of Chitral have rejected the blacktopping project of Chitral Airport Road without its widening and contended that its width is too low to bear the mounting volume of vehicular traffic as it was essentially the road of 1960s.

    The communication and works (C&W) department has earmarked a sum of Rs. 36 million for its blacktopping floating its tender for 16th of the month in which the road will not be widened by not a single inch and without any structural work to contain its erosion.

    The former district  nazim Chitral Maghfirat Shah said that the expansion in the width of the road was inevitable as it was one of the oldest roads of Chitral district  which now connected  more than 20 thousand population of Singur, Balach, Dolomus and seen Lusht with the city.

    He said that the road had been reduced to ruin as the government did not release a penny for its repair and maintenance despite his repeated request during his four years tenure as district nazim which troubled the regular commuters on the road beyond description.

    He regretted that after a long a long wait, the government has released funds only for blacktopping the road totally ignoring its widening which will not solve the traffic problem faced by the residents.

    He said that the road has gathered further importance in the recent years  due to the establishment of University of Chitral in Seen Lusht and Aga Khan higher secondary school in Seen Lusht, district police office and technical college in Balach.

    Mr. Shah said that a number of fatal road accidents have occurred in the road due to its narrowness in which more than fifty people have lost their lives during the past twenty years while in all the incidents the vehicles plunged into the river while crossing or overtaking another vehicle.

    The residents of Chitral apprehended more number of traffic accidents on the road if it was blacktopped without increasing its width as the drivers of the vehicles will naturally tend to speed up finding no obstacle in their way in the newly carpeted road.

    Haji Zafar of Singur village said that he has been using the road during the past fifty years to his shop in Atalique Bazaar and  its width and alignment is the same as he found it then when he was still a child.

    He recalled that in his childhood, he found the mules and other beasts of burden on the road coming from the distant valleys of Karimabad, Arkari and Garam Chashma and it is nearly the same road in the year 2020.

    He said that increase in the width of the road, erection of breast wall, retaining wall and causeway in a number of places was too necessary without which merely the blacktopping of the road will be no substance.

    When the executive engineer of C&W Division Chitral, Usman Khan was contacted, he confirmed that no work of widening had been included in the project  as it was only a blacktopping work for which tenders had been called for next week.

    He said that the design had been approved by the chief engineer of the department and he had to execute it.

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