CHITRAL: Due to heavy snowfalls, Lawari pass has been blocked for traffic and hundreds of passengers have been stranded on both sides of the Lawari tunnel due to negligence of the concerned authorities to clear snow from approach roads of the tunnel.
The National Highway Authority (NHA) had announced to open the under-construction Tunnel for vehicular traffic one day a week. Residents of the district, which is cut off from rest of the country after snowfall at the Lawari pass during winter, have been demanding of the NHA and government to open the tunnel at least two days in a week to keep the district connected with the rest of the country.
However, the demand was not heeded to and the tunnel is opened only on Friday every week for traffic.
The heavy snow on the approach roads of the tunnel on both sides have made the tunnel inaccessible for vehicular traffic. The sown has not yet been fully cleared by the concerned authorities, due to which commuters are facing problems in approaching the tunnel as the roads have become slippery.
Hundreds of vehicles have stranded on both sides since yesterday and a child patient, who was being shifted to Peshawar in an ambulance after doctor referred him to, died after the ambulance remained stuck on Chitral side of the tunnel for over 17 hours.
District Nazim Chitral Haji Maghfirat Shah said that due to the incompetence and negligence of NHA and FWO, a child Rayanullah s/0 Hasrat Jan died after the ambulance carrying him to Peshawar stuck for over 17 hours on Chitral’s side of the tunnel.
He said that the snow from the approach roads were not cleared properly due to which vehicles access to the tunnel has become difficult. He held NHA responsible for the death of the child, saying that due to its incompetence the people of the district were facing immense problems in travelling to down country or to the district from down country.
The commuters travelling from Chitral to Peshawar are stranded at Baradam area on Chitral side. People travelling to the district from down country have stranded at Dir’s side of the tunnel.
The stranded people are facing immense difficulties due to sever cold and shortage of food items. They have appealed to the government and concerned authorities to take notice of the situation.