Poor quality of Chitral Booni road construction lambasted

CHITRAL:  The ongoing work on the Chitral Booni road has been termed as substandard and faulty by people from all walks of life in Chitral.. A civil society organization CDM team led by it’s chairman and accompanied by road building experts inspected the under construction road at various places. According to observation of the team, the retaining  walls that are being constructed on the side of the road are very poor. In these walls, small stones and debris  are putting  in the middle of it and hide them from cement spices, but the sand used in it is very poor and all soil mixed. The second major problem is to see that the protection  wall that has been built  require  pouring water twice daily for seven days, but here is something else and these retaining wall were destroying due to no proper curing. It was also revealed that the construction of this road was given to Umar Jan & Company, but during the work it was observed that the contract sublated to other PT contractor where  ordinary laborers from Asheri to Arundo have been given this  contract  of work who has no experience.

The CDM team also expressed great indignation that Nespak’s resident engineer is responsible for examining the quality and quantity of the construction work, but unfortunately a consultant named Irfan seems that he never  inspected  the road. No one has ever seen  on the road during its inspection. Now it is learned that he has retired from his service, but no other consultant has come here as his substitute. During the vising  of this road, a strange thing was found that the contractor was making culvert  in some places unnecessarily after ten meters in the road, but when these pipes were carefully viewed, a supporter look. came. Where the water comes that edge is down and where the water expel  out, it is up.. And where the bridges of the large culvert  are used in the place of big channel , a small size iron  has been used, though it should have used one and a half  inch wide  so that the bridge will not be broken due to the weight of loaded trucks.

This scribe  knew his opinion from a senior engineer, said on condition of anonymity he disclosed  there were a lot of mistakes in the work. One of the major mistakes is that before putting the concrete, you have to put a small stone from one to  two inches under the iron rod so that when the concrete  is poured into it, the concrete goes underneath the iron rodsBesides it iron rod should to  put in a distance of six to six inches and it is given water for ten days, but the contractor has used iron with a gape of 14 inches too  which has started to break the rope of bridge  due to lack of water. During the CDM team’s road tour, it was also observed that in some places the protection  walls have just begun to break automatically as the contractor did not arranged its  curing  and it was cracked  due to lack of water.

On this road  there is a natural fountain from the mountain where the people of this area installed fifteen temporary shops  and gaining  livelihoods for their families. The contractor is also destroying the water of this natural fountain by building an eight -foot -high protection  wall at the same place. “We have repeatedly requested the NHA officials and the contractor to build a wall of only two and a half feet high to prevent the fountain from being destroyed,” said Sharif Hussein, chairman of the Koghuzi. He said that poor people will gain their livelihood and passers -by will also benefit by  drinking cold water from this natural fountains, but they dis not accept our request in this regard.

During the visit of  CDM members on the road, one of the things was revealed that the contractor digging  ten to 20 feet tall tunnel in the mountain to open the road, which blew it into explosion and blast. There is a calamity that causes the whole mountain to fall and the rest of the crack is very shocking. AS  Chitral has been declared in  Red Zone and at any time a high -level earthquake may occur or due to rain and snow can cause massive casualties to fall down the rock on passengers.

During this inspection it was also observed that after the contractor illegally demolished the mountain, millions of tons of debris and large stones/boulders  putting into the river, which causes  raising of  river level to lead to destruction. The water began to flow at such a high level that it caused the devastation to flow up to five feet high in the rooms of  houses and hotels on river bank. These  stones were carried by water and stopped in the Singour, where the river Mastuj and Lutkoh meet at a junction. Due to the flood, these large stones came and stopped at the brink of the river Lutkoh and caused the flow of water to stop. This water entered  inside of one  megawatt power house of  Wapda in the Singour and the entire power plant was destroyed by drowning underwater. Besides, the water level was so high that the water reached the outside of the power plant. Damage to the houses. Since July 22, the power plant is closed and suspended supply of electricity  and the people here are also deprived of its electricity.

In this connection, CDM members also met with Deputy Commissioner of Upper Chitral  Muhammad Khalid Zaman in his office and shared their grievances about substandard quality of work on Booni road. The Deputy Commissioner also expressed great disappointment over the ongoing work  and assured that he would deliver their request  to the NHA officials through the provincial government. it was also revealed that Umar Jan & Company had  sublited contractor to so many PT contractors =. Giving the contractor to others quality of the work was very poor.

CDM members suggested that if the hurdle in road ear the Nerdit Goal, if the tunnel was made in the mountain , the water pipeline would also be saved  and the passengers traveling to Booni Shandur  will also be saved from  felling of land sliding over them from mountain. Some time ago, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s chief secretary Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry visited Chitral, people complained that the contractor put all the debris into the river while widening  the road, causing raising surface of river  which damage property of people. The  Chief Secretary  directed local administration to initiate  inquiry n this regard and he assured that because the contractor had to pay him for disposing of debris with safe and proper way  if he threw it into the river. So strict action will be taken against him. But the next day, the contractor dropped the whole mountain which fell down by  blasting  and put millions of tonnes of debris and stones into the river, which also closed Booni road for 7 hours

 CDM members as well as  political and social circle  of Chitral demand from high ups of  federal  as well as the Chief Justice of Pakistan to bound the contractor for standard quality work as  the amount of 21 billion fund for Booni  Shandur road, has been approved for the first time in 75 years. The fund should be protected from the microscope and embezzlement  by a few corrupt officials  and contractor and an honest engineer should be deployed to check the quality of work on the road on a daily basis.  Who will Inspect the work and stop the non -standard and poor work and restrict the contractor to perform a standard of work so that the road can be saved from repeatedly destroying.  Also, the water should be  showered  on the road on  daily basis so that passengers  and people living around the road can be saved from diseased due to severe dust. The public also demanded that, the contract of  this should be awarded to  another honest contractor or company if possible so that  to stop the substandard and poor quality  work in the construction of this road and make it standard once according to SOP and specification to  facilitate the public. .. GH Farooqi, 19 Aug 2023

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