Construction Mayhem In The Capital Claims Its First Victim

DSC00656.JPGThe delays, as usual are there. But now we have victims too. The way that construction is going on in Islamabad is poorly planned and outright constant threat to the citizens. For reference, check out this picture that was taken some 4 months ago of Kalsoom Plaza Underpass. If you walk upto the construction site, there hasn’t been a significant progress yet. As a matter of fact the site condition has deteriorated.

And now we have victims of negligence. The death of an Indian national in a traffic accident caused by the construction of an underpass at Islamabad’s China Chowk is tragic. Regrettably, it has taken a death for the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the local administration to sit up and take notice of the danger posed by the near-criminal way in which the federal capital’s roads are dug up with no warning signs installed for passing motorists or pedestrians.

The construction company must also be held accountable for its carelessness. It is shocking to learn that there are not one or two but at least nine danger points where such night-time warnings should have been placed. Even if the lady was driving at high speed, which people usually do so late in the night (2am in this case), and reportedly couldn’t control the speed of her vehicle, it is possible that the tragic accident would not have taken place if there had been warning lights visible from afar to the ill-fated driver.

As is always the case, the AC (City) has been given the task of conducting an inquiry into the case and to fix the responsibility. Of course the construction company has to be answerable for its negligence. But shouldn’t the CDA and the local administration have also been more vigilant, pointing out to the company the absence of any hazard lights at the dangerous spots? With this being the state of affairs in a city like Islamabad, which is supposed to have a much better and more responsible administration, it is not at all hard to see why the situation is so bad in the rest of the country vis-a-vis public safety standards employed during construction activity. From Karachi to Lahore, in fact all over the country, construction activity is undertaken anywhere, everywhere and at any time with scant regard for public safety measures. With the kind of unbridled, uncontrolled and irresponsible building activity that goes on all around the country, it is high time building code regulations and rules were imposed more stringently. As with many spheres of our national life, the problem is not the absence of proper laws but the failure to implement them in both letter and spirit

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