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Lowari Tunnel users vulnurable

CHITRAL: The lives of thousands of commuters using the Lowari tunnel under construction is at high risk in the absence of proper standard operating procedure to ensure their safety and smooth flow of vehicular traffic.

After the closure of the Lowari Top Road due to snowfall in Dec last year, the tunnel is opened to public transport vehicles twice a week i.e. Friday and Tuesday.

More than 1,000 vehicles, light and heavy, pass through the tunnel carrying passengers and goods.

In the tunnel, commuters complained about suffocation caused by the smoke of vehicles, absence of emergency rescue system, unavailability of medical aid, and hours long traffic jam caused by the breaking down of vehicles.

They criticised the National Highway Authority for failing to clear snow from approach roads leading to the tunnel and blaming bottlenecks on it.

The commuters complained vehicles had to use a six feet wide track. They also pointed out the unavailability of a recovery service to the vehicles broken down inside the tunnel.

A civil engineer of Chitral proposed that sand and soil be sprinkled on approach roads on the two days of the week to prevent the road from being frozen and thus, checking the sliding of vehicles.

He said the transportation of construction materials from Dir and that of timber, gem stones and marble from Chitral shouldn’t be allowed through the tunnel to ensure smooth journey of commuters and uninterrupted supply of consumer goods to the people.

Commuters also complained transport vehicle drivers endangered their lives by rash driving and overtaking inside the tunnel and that there was no one to check them.

They proposed that telephone booths be put up inside the passageway after every 500 metres to seek help in case of emergency.

The commuters called for the parking of ambulances in the tunnel to take those needing medical attention to the hospital.

They also demanded an effective crackdown on drivers exceeding the speed limit.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2017

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1 Comment
  1. Munir says

    If instead of making all these non-achievable demands travelers only make one demand that the tunnel should be open daily from morning till evening for the next two months, most problems will be solved automatically like getting choked, overcrowding, breakdowns due to desperation, rush at one time, etc. The NHA/SAMBU can work inside during night shift for these two months and work outside the tunnel during the day.

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