Friday December 09, 2022

People want early restoration of Kalam-Bahrain Road

By Bureau report
September 26, 2022

PESHAWAR: The people of flood-affected valleys in upper Swat have expressed concern over the slow pace of repair work on the Kalam-Bahrain Road and called for expediting the same so they can resume their normal life.

A portion of the road between Bahrain and Kalam valley was swept away by the devastating floods on August 25 that cut off the road link of thousands of people of dozens of valleys beyond Bahrain from the rest of the country.

The repair work was started in the second week of the floods, involving the National Highway Authority (NHA) Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) with the support of the district administration.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa during his visit to the valley had said that the Bahrain-Kalam Road would be repaired soon and reopened for traffic in a week.

Adviser to Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Khyber Pakhtunkhwa president Engineer Amir Muqam had taken personal interest in the road restoration as well and helped the flood-affected people of Swat, particularly the poor residents of upper Swat.

He was among the few local politicians who risked his life and reached remote villages beyond Bahrain and Kalam and then took Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Kalam to personally see the losses suffered by the local people and damage to the infrastructure.

Amir Muqam Khan said he had started repairing the Bahrain-Kalam Road on an emergency basis to restore traffic as it was difficult to supply food items through helicopters.

He said the government would ensure the Bahrain-Kalam Road and bridges building permanently but once the track is restored to enable local residents to supply their vegetables to the market.

The residents of Kalam valley had taken the initiative by repairing the road which sent a positive message and the army chief announced the repair of the road on a priority basis.

“The work is in progress but it’s very slow. People can’t take their patients to Mingora and they have to wait for hours for the excavator to clear the road of stones,” said a resident, Riaz Khan.

He said people suffered heavy losses as they could not supply vegetables to the market in time due to the closure of the road.

The resident said the contractor had told them it would take at least 10-15 days to repair the road rand reopen it for heavy traffic. Babu Rahman, a civil engineer, said people had invested billions of rupees in the Kalam valley in the hotel industry, saying work on more than 100 hotels and apartments was in full swing before the floods.

“There is complete silence now and all the investors are anxiously waiting for the road to be repaired so that they can restart construction work. It will generate job opportunities in Kalam and enable local residents to earn a livelihood,” he added.