By Fazal khaliq
MINGORA: Tourists and transporters have demanded of the government to immediately repair the Bahrain-Kalam road which has been extensively damaged by landslides and flashfloods caused by the recent heavy rains.
The 31-kilometre road has been damaged at several locations by heavy landslides and flowing water besides a huge glacial slide at Gorait area and has become dangerous for vehicles. The damaged road has multiplied miseries of the local residents living beyond Bahrain and highly affected tourism in the area.
“The area is, no doubt, like a paradise and the weather is very pleasant, but nobody would like to visit it twice because of the bad condition of the road. It not only takes very long time to reach Kalam, but also affect human health,” said Zahoor Ahmad, a tourist from Lasbela who visited Kalam with his friends.
Comparing the scenic beauty of Kalam with other tourist resorts in Pakistan, tourists from Multan said that Kalam was far beautiful than any other spot in the country.
“The valley is dazzling with unending Swat River, thick forests, waterfalls, lakes and lush green meadows, but in terms of facilities it is one of the most backward areas in the country,” said Usman Adil, a tourist from Multan. The tourists said that there must be a road like that of Murree because Swat was also part of Pakistan.
At some locations, groups of drivers of Kalam were busy in cleaning the road and minor repair on self-help basis.
“We have come out to repair the road ourselves as the government is not interested to construct it. We staged many protests and appealed to the government to construct the road, but neither the elected representatives nor the district administration bother to listen to us,” said Fazal Mohammad, president of drivers union in Kalam.
The drivers said that the worst condition of the road caused extensive damage to their vehicles and after making one trip to Kalam their vehicles remained in mechanic workshops for days.
Ironically, during the last three years the reconstruction work on Kalam road was inaugurated four times by the area MPA, MNA and PM’s adviser Engineer Amir Muqam, but no construction work could be started yet.
When contacted, assistant commissioner Kamran Khan said that he had contacted the NHA’s deputy director (maintenance) for the repair of risky points on the road. He claimed that technical officials of NHA would soon inspect the damaged road and start work on it.