Sunday May 26, 2024

Army engineers install temporary bridge in flood-hit Bahrain

By Mushtaq Yusufzai
September 04, 2022

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Army Engineering Corps on Saturday installed a temporary wooden bridge in the floods-hit Bahrain town of Swat valley that helped with taking heavy machinery for the repair work on Bahrain-Kalam road.

Several villages beyond Bahrain had been cut off from the rest of the country since August 26. The flash floods swept away the road in 25 different places.

The engineering corps of the army had shifted excavators to Bahrain but couldn’t move the machinery to the affected places as the bridge in Daral Khwar in Bahrain had been washed away in the devastating floods.

By Saturday afternoon, the army engineers were able to set up a makeshift bridge on Daral Khwar and shift excavators and other machinery across the steam.

Local residents raised slogans in support of the army engineers after their pickup trucks and excavators first crossed the bridges and praised their services in the crisis.

The river water that was flowing through the once famous and beautiful Bahrain bazaar was finally diverted to the river and enabled the owners of hotels, restaurants and shops to come and start repair of their buildings.

The engineers would now go towards Lambat, where the road doesn’t exist, thanks to the two local policemen who established a small wooden track for those coming from Kalam and other villages to Bahrain on foot.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javaid Bajwa had stated a few days ago in Swat that the Kalam-Bahrain road would be opened in six to seven days.

Presently thousands of people in upper Swat have been dependent on a single helicopter that chief minister Mahmood Khan had provided to the Swat district administration for the rescue and relief operation, particularly evacuating around 4000 stranded tourists from Kalam.

There are still many tourists in Kalam waiting for their evacuation as the evacuation mechanism was not based on merit.

It is widely complained that tourists are being airlifted on the basis of their strong links in the civil and military bureaucracy.

The residents of Kalam valley were the first to start repair work on the road on a self-help basis and continued it for the third consecutive day on Saturday.

They wanted to transport their vegetables, particularly their famous potatoes, to the markets in the downtowns.

With limited resources, the volunteers from Kalam had been able to repair more than one kilometre road from Budhai Kamar to Laikot.

According to the Kalam-based social worker and tourism promoter Nasrullah Kalami, a portion of the road was also repaired near Peshmal by the evening and the volunteers pledged to continue work till night and enable the damaged portion in Old Peshmal for jeeps.

It will restore traffic between Kalam and Cham Ghari. He hoped the road is likely to be opened for traffic next week if the Pakistan army engineers utilised heavy machinery to the sites.

Hundreds of people of Kalam are presently involved in the repair work of the 35-kilometre long Kalam-Bahrain road.