Otherwise left untended for months and at times for years, roads in Gilgit got a rare repair job on Thursday, a day after Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s maiden visit to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) was confirmed.
In trucks and tractors laden with construction material and equipment, workers of the district administration started roving the city streets, identifying damaged portions and making repairs as they traversed. Labourers of the municipal committee worked overtime and reached out to almost every damaged road in the town, including localities of Jutial, Khomer and Kashrote. Speed bumps were repainted and garbage in markets and along roads disposed off, providing much-needed relief to the resident.
“It is an attempt to give the prime minister an impression that all is well here,” said Yonas Khan, a school teacher. He said that a majority of the roads repaired had not undergone any maintenance work for the past several years.
“His visit is like a blessing in disguise for us,” said Bashir Alam, a resident of Yadgar Chowk. He said that since the law and order situation worsened in G-B and the government faced shortage of funds, development work came to halt in the area.
PM Ashraf is scheduled to address a joint session of the G-B assembly and G-B Council soon after his arrival in Gilgit on Friday. He will then be flown to Attabad to perform the groundbreaking of a 25-km portion of the Karakoram Highway, which, according to National Highway Authority Chairman Abdullah Jan, will provide a much-needed road link to Gojal. The PM will be flown back to Islamabad in the evening.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2012.