Driving on the West Service Road in G-11 can be expensive. Last time Raja Haqdar, a resident of G-11/2, drove down the road, his car’s front axle broke, causing him a loss of Rs2,000.
“I tried my best to avoid the pothole but in vain,” he said.
The road that connects the Kashmir Highway to sector F-11 is marred by rain-filled potholes and craters, some of which span over several feet. It is not the only bruised and battered road in the federal capital, but definitely one of the worst.
The incoming traffic lane is in such a poor state that drivers are forced on to the opposing side, while manholes along the road are raised above the tarmac, further restricting the flow of traffic.
Residents and shopkeepers in G-11 said they have complained to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) several times, but are yet to get any positive response.
“The officials don’t even care. They are insensitive to our plight,” said Faqir Hussain, who runs a hardware shop near the road and lives nearby. He claimed that the road wasn’t carpeted properly when it was built two years back.
Another resident, Khalid Khan, said the only maintenance work visible on the road has been done by the people themselves.
“Some of the shopkeepers collected funds from the community and built manholes near the shops to drain out the rainwater,” he explained.
CDA spokesperson Masudur Rehman said some of the roads in the city had been affected by the monsoon rains, adding that the civic agency plans to initiate repair work once the current spell of rain was over.
While some roads might have been damaged by the rains, roads in several areas, especially the G, H and I sectors, have been awaiting repair work for a long time.
For instance, the road leading to the International Islamic University Islamabad through H-9 and H-10 is showing signs of wear and tear, while cracks looking like a spider’s web can be seen at several places on the Kashmir Highway near G-9.
Despite all of that, road maintenance seems to be on the CDA’s back burner. According to Rehman, the CDA’s financial crunch has forced the authority to prioritise on projects, and roads didn’t make the list in 2011.
“Last year, we had planned to utilise Rs372 million for roads, but the funds haven’t been released yet,” he said.
While the CDA mulls over its plans, it seems the residents of G-11 can only keep on driving for now, with the hope that they avoid the potholes every time.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2012.