Rs 909 million needed to construct bridge, road in Chakwal

CHAKWAL: On the request of member of the provincial assembly (MPA) Zulifqar Ali Khan, an estimate of Rs909.43 million has been prepared for the construction of a bridge over Soan River and a road to link Chakwal with Attock.

Haasil, a remote village in Chakwal, is located on the other side of the Soan River on the border of Chakwal-Attock districts.

There is no bridge on the river and the residents of the village have to use a chairlift to cross the river.

The chairlift was recently sealed by the district administration after Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif banned the installation of swings across the province in the wake of the collapse of a swing in Sahiwal during the Eid holidays in which 34 children were injured.

Officials concerned submit feasibility and cost estimate of projects to chief minister for approval of funds

The villagers were asked to renovate the pillars of the platform of the chairlift. The chairlift remained sealed for nine days during which the village remained cut-off from the rest of the district.

On Wednesday, MPA Zulifqar visited the site and got the chairlift unsealed without informing the district administration.

Officials in the district administration were left shocked when they heard about the unsealing of the chairlift, as a four-member committee was set up in each tehsil with powers to seal or unseal a swing or a chairlift.

District Coordination Officer (DCO) Mehmood Javed Bhatti confirmed to Dawn that the district administration did not unseal the chairlift.

When contacted, MPA Zulifqar refused to comment on the unsealing of the chairlift. However, in an application to the chief minister (copy available with Dawn), the MPA had sought the construction of a bridge over the river.

In the application, the MPA stated that the Haasil village of his constituency (PP-22) was located on the bank of Soan River.

“People of the village are suffering a lot due to the unavailability of a bridge. They are using a swing to cross the river which could be very dangerous for their lives. Therefore, there is a need for the construction of a bridge which would not only facilitate students and other villagers but would also be beneficial for the workers from the village who go to the oilfields in Khaor and Dhulian in the Attock district.”

The application also said the village was located just six kilometres from the newly-constructed Neelah interchange of Chakwal.

In response to the application, the chief minister directed the executive engineer of the provincial highway department and the executive district officer (EDO) finance and planning to prepare a feasibility report and the cost estimate of the project. The authorities concerned prepared the feasibility report and the cost estimate and submitted it to the chief minister on July 20.

The feasibility report (copy available with Dawn) described the proposed road as the most important inter-district link which would connect Chakwal with Fatehjang and Pindi Gheb tehsils of Attock.

“The total distance from Khaur (Attock) to Neelah Interchange (Chakwal) will be 24km which otherwise is 140km through Rawalpindi-Tarnol Interchange from Neelah.” The report added that after the completion of the proposed road, a 116km distance would be reduced and approximately 400,000 people of both the districts would be befitting from it.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2016