Reconstruction of 10 bridges stopped due to lack of funds

CHITRAL: As many as 11 reinforced concrete cement (RCC) bridges over rivers in Chitral will be delayed by another year due to inadequate allocation of only Rs10 million against the required amount of Rs279 million by the finance department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the communication and works (C&W) department for the current financial year.

A source in the C&W department confirmed said the completion of the bridges won`t be possible during the next one-and-a-half years. He said work on the bridges had already been stopped due to paucity of funds.

“Even if due allocation is made in the budget of 2019, the projects will not be completed before 2020 as the winter season will approach before the release of the funds which are essentially made in piecemeal,” he said.

The source said the department had a large liability of Rs121 million to be paid to the contractors who had carried on the construction work despite unavailability of funds and had made considerable progress while the allocated amount of Rs10 million covered only nine per cent of the liabilities.

The under-construction bridges are in Shoghor (Rs60 million), Phokel (Rs65 million), Reshun ((Rs32 million), Charun (Rs20 million), Muzhgole (Rs60 million), Goldeh Broze (Rs25 million), Khorkashandeh (Rs40 million), Booni Gol (Rs4.2 million), Kosht (Rs65 million) and Ayun (Rs91 million).

The bridges in Reshun, Booni Gol, Khorkashandeh and Goldeh Broze are said to be near completion but it is feared that due to the standing liabilities, the contractors may not allow the C&W department to open them for the public transport before they are paid.

The suspension bridges in most of the sites of the under-construction RCC bridges had been washed away in the 2015 flash floods. However, commuters still used the makeshift bridges to pass their light vehicles.

The mechanized farming by using tractors, threshers, cultivators and others has ceased to be used in several villages which have been disconnected from the main road in the aftermath of 2015 floods.

The tourism sector is said to be the worst affected due to the incomplete bridges as most of them connected the tourist resorts and hiking and trekking places, including the Kalash valleys and the Terich valley which is at the foot of Terich Mir, the highest peak of Hindu Kush mountainous range. —

Zahiruddin (Dawn)