KARACHI: The first glimpse newcomers get of Karachi after arriving from other parts of the country by train or bus is horrible and bleak, as the road just outside the Karachi Cantt Railway Station is in shambles. The road, known as Dr Daudpota Road, is so dilapidated that its condition has lead to serious traffic congestion in the area, resulting in commuters' failure to catch their trains.
Bus driver Ghulam Khan, while pointing out the broken road, said that their vehicles are damaged due to the terrible condition of the roads. "People sometimes ask us to drive fast as they need to reach the station to catch their train, since the train departs on time these days," he laughed. They then blame us for getting late, when the roads we drive on are in such a condition, he said.
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While carefully plying on the uneven road in a bid to avoid potholes, a rickshaw driver told The Express Tribune that these roads can disbalance the rickshaw and cause accidents. Another driver said that when the road is inundated with sewage water it becomes difficult to spot the potholes beneath the stagnant water and new drivers to the area overturn their vehicles, injuring themselves and their passengers.
"If this is the condition of one of the biggest cities of the country, then what do you expect from the areas in rural parts of the country?" asked Hazar Khan, a transporter who runs the office near the station. He added that a number of government officers ply on this road daily but no one is interested in resolving the problems of the city. People miss their trains when the road is blocked due to the potholes on the road, Khan explained.
"We have seen the road in such a condition for many years now and even though every five to six months this portion of road is repaired, it does not last longer than that," said a worried resident Mujahid Hussain.
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The maintenance and repairs of the road is the responsibility of the District Municipal Corporation (DMC) South.
Shahnawaz, a police sergeant guiding the traffic outside the station, said the intersection is crucial, if any car or a bus gets a mechanical fault here due to road condition it causes a severe traffic jam, leaving the traffic police in a difficult position to manage the traffic. He also said that the vehicles' axles are damaged due to the condition of the road.
When contacted by The Express Tribune, DMC South's superintendent engineer Mashooque Ali Rajpar claimed the patchwork outside the Cantt Station will be done within a week or so. He added that although, they are facing a lack of financial resources, the road outside the Cantt Station is on their priority list.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2016.