The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has given the Kohat Tunnel administration till September 8 to restore the tunnel to the condition the Japanese government left it in. It also ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to audit the Rs14 million spent on renovating the tunnel after it was damaged in an explosion.
During the suo motu notice proceedings on Wednesday, PHC Chief Justice (CJ) Dost Muhammad Khan questioned Kohat Tunnel Chief Operating Officer (COO) Abdul Rahim Gandapur regarding his statement during case’s last hearing on July 10.
“You stated that the tunnel would be restored by July 31. However, my personal visit to the tunnel revealed to me that there was a single exhaust fan for extracting the polluted air from the tunnel,” said CJ Khan, to which Gandapur replied that the deal for the jet fans had been finalised.
“We have purchased jet fans from Germany and the shipment will reach Karachi by August 3,” said the COO. Adding that a lighting system had been installed in the tunnel, Gandapur asked the court for more time to restore it to its original shape.
The court also inquired about the tax collected from vehicles, asking where the money was spent. Gandapur replied the amount collected was sent to the headquarters of the National Highway Authority, which later distributed the money among the provinces.
Meanwhile, the court withdrew its July 10 orders according to which Kohat district’s commissioner, district revenue officer and district coordination order would collect toll tax from August 1 in case the tunnel officials missed the July 31 completion deadline.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2012.