Indus Highway ‘death trap’ killed thousands in three years

Over 2,000 people have died in accidents on the Indus Highway in the last three years mainly because of the highway’s Jamshoro-Shehwan section is a single lane.

The road is 132 kilometres long.

At least 1,780 accidents took place in 2018, leaving 87 dead and 871 injured.

The accidents were caused by:

1. The ongoing construction of Amri-Qazi Ahmad bridge over the Indus River, connecting the Indus Highway to the National Highway. 2. Movement of heavy traffic. 3. Delay in the construction of a dual lane between Jamshoro and Sehwan.

Most of the injured die before they could reach Sehwan or Jamshoro civil hospitals.

There is no major government hospital between the two cities. Recently a charity organization started an ambulance service on the highway.

Advocate Saeed Ahmed Mirjat of Sehwan has filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the accidents. He went to the Sindh High Court in 2016.

Till then, at least 2,500 people had died and the death toll has crossed 3,000 since 2016.

“The main reasons for the accidents are the construction of the Amri bridge, the heavy vehicles transporting coal and the closure of the train service,” he said. The closure has increased the movement of passenger coaches.

So far, the Sindh High Court and the Supreme Court have conducted 30 and three hearings, respectively.

“The courts have ordered the authorities to cancel route permits for heavy vehicles, install CCTV cameras and construct check-posts, but the administration is not abiding by the orders,” the lawyer said.

The Supreme Court has warned that if anyone dies in an accident on Jamshoro-Sehwan Road, now a case would be registered against the NHA officials and they would also have to compensate the victims.

Deputy Commissioner Jamshoro, Captain (retd) Fareed Mustafa, who has recently taken charge, did not confirm the number of deaths, saying that they did not have official figure.

He said the NHA and Sindh government are jointly making efforts to complete the construction of the highway’s dual lane at the earliest. “There is no issue of funds. The work is underway and I hope no more lives will be lost.”

[This article originally appeared in Sindhi in daily Kawish on September 3, 2018]

 
 
 
 
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