Friday July 19, 2024

We wish PM may cut another ‘Ribbon’ at Karal Chowk soon!

By Mobarik A Virk
February 06, 2017


I would not express my political affiliations or inclinations, likes or dislikes for any political figure. But I, along with hundreds of thousands of people, men and women, young and old, workers and students, officers and officials, who are compelled to commute through the Karal Chowk on the Islamabad Expressway, sincerely wish that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif may cut another 'Ribbon' to inaugurate and throw this 'fly-over' open for free flow of traffic as soon as possible.

We, the people commuting up and down this most important artery have been suffering because of these development activities for a very long time already. In fact for over two decades now! 

First, most of us suffered when the widening of the Islamabad Highway was undertaken to make it five-lane 'Expressway'. Then the re-surfacing work of the 'Murree Expressway' (Faizabad inter-section to Dhokri Chowk' started. People from all walks of life suffered. 

Then the widening and resurfacing of the Islamabad Highway (Faizabad to Zero Point) started including the construction of a 'fly-over' at the Garden Avenue intersection.  Again it was a physical and mental torture for the commuters.

And now this project to extend this 'Islamabad Expressway' up to Rawat (like the Kashmir Highway has been extended to touch GT Road near Tarnol) and turn it into a 'Signal Free Corridor' has been launched.

No doubt it would be a great convenience once completed as it will make the Islamabad Highway from Rawat in the South right up to the Faisal Mosque in North a five-lane signal-free highway.

But it is already way beyond the scheduled completion time. And the fact remains that the actual work is yet to start while the contractors and the Capital Development Authority are still stuck at the 'Karal Chowk' fly-over!

"Complete the project and open it for traffic flow in all directions before the end of December 2016," those sitting in a high-level meeting told the CDA. The CDA passed the buck to the contractors. December 25, 2016 was given as the new date for inauguration. All of us, the commuters or the victims, heaved a sigh of relief.

The project got delayed.

"The Karal Chowk fly-over will be completed and inaugurated in the first week of January 2017," came the new announcement! We, the commuters, fell in a mood for 'bhangra' because the announcement seemed to be somewhat pragmatic!

A cold, damp January 2017 passed, dampening our spirits too as the project still remained incomplete! During this period the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has 'cut ribbons' to inaugurate some 'mega projects' in other parts of the country.

Rumours are afloat that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has agreed to inaugurate this project by installing the plaque of his name here on the project built with public money.  Nothing unusual really! Just like all the other projects, which most of the people like me believe he has paid for from his own pocket! Still, we wish and pray for him to cut this 'ribbon' at Karal Chowk fly-over as early as possible!

We know that the next issue is going to be the 'two-lane-a-side' bridge, just half a kilometer down the 'Koral Chowk' interchange, which is bound to become the next bottle-neck as well as the widening of the rest of the road from that point up to T-Chowk on G.T. Road near Rawat.

But that will come later!