Sindh govt, KMC turn blind eye to National Highway’s abysmal condition

Rainwater, sewerage water and pits cause hours-long traffic jams, make commuting cumbersome

Vakeel Rao September 29, 2019
National Highway has been reduced to a decaying thoroughfare, with deep pits formed along its length, as a result of the clogged drainage system. And yet, civic agencies’ negligence towards the restoration of the road has persisted. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: In the aftermath of monsoon rains, the recently-reconstructed National Highway, extending from Kala Board to Malir City, has suffered severe damage, making travelling on the route no less than a nightmare for the citizens.

According to a survey conducted by The Express Tribune, the road has been reduced to a decaying thoroughfare, with deep pits formed along its length, as a result of the clogged drainage system. As a result, vehicles turning over on the National Highway has become a common occurrence. And yet, the civic agencies responsible for the upkeep of one of the main thoroughfares of Karachi, the Sindh government and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), have seemingly turned a blind eye to its poor state.

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The Sindh government and KMC's negligence towards the restoration of the National Highway have persisted despite citizens complaining of getting stuck in hours-long traffic jams on the road for the past several months.

"It takes us half an hour to cover the distance which can otherwise be covered in a minute due to traffic jams," said one wary commuter, adding that the recent spell of rains has further worsened the situation.

The National Highway is one of the main arteries of Karachi's road network, connecting the West District to the rest of the city. Numerous residents of the West District take this road daily to reach Quaidabad, Landhi, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Dhabeji, Thatta, Mirpur Sakro, Badin and other locations. However, their commuting problems have increased manifold as the previously existing pits, now coupled with rain and sewerage water standing still along the National Highway's length, has made travelling on the road not only cumbersome but also hazardous.

Moreover, rains and the clogged drainage system has also caused damage to the Malir City flyover, which usually receives heavy traffic, now hampered by the pits on the flyover's ramp.

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Addressing the issue, Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister (CM) on Environment and Law Barrister Murtaza Wahab said that the road extending from the airport to Quaidabad was constructed by KMC and the Sindh government will look into the matter to determine whether the construction of the road is faulty. He further said that drainage pipes near the road have been clogged by large stones which would be removed soon.

Wahab assured that the restoration of the National Highway would begin soon. However, no action has been taken in this regard yet.

Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah had also visited the National Highway last Sunday, preceding which stones were removed from drainage pipes and it was also alleged the provincial government's "opponents" had clogged the pipes.

On the other hand, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA had previously staged a three-hour-long sit-in, along with the party workers, on the National Highway, protesting against the government's negligence and demanding the repair of the thoroughfare.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2019.

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