By Nazar Abbas
PakVoices, Rahim Yar Khan
Nishtar Ghat Bridge, the only bridge which connects Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan, opens for traffic for six months and remains closed for the similar amount of time.
While major cities of Punjab have modern transport system such as motorway and metro bus, places like Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan people still use boats as means of travel from one place to another.
The government, although had constructed a bridge but it neither has link roads nor the guide walls constructed due to which people are forced to use steel bridge.
In 1951 a temporary bridge was constructed at Chachran Sharif. For four decades the people of Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan used to travel across this bridge.
In 1993 former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto gave the plan for construction of the steel bridge through which people even travel today. But this bridge opens for traffic from October 15 till April 15 while the remaining year, people travel through boats, which is not only a long journey but also dangerous.
“Rajanpur is a rural area and people have to make a 7 hour long journey to Rahim Yar Khan for medical treatment and trade”, a local resident Zeeshan told Pak Voices.
“After the construction of the bridge, travel distance would reduce to 2 hours”, he said.
During the PPP tenure, a new project was started at Nishtar Ghat, which is still pending.
In 7 years, the construction of the bridge which was estimated to cost Rs. 6 billion now has risen to Rs. 13 billion.
According to a local resident Akhtar Mirani, “If any car, van or rickshaw gets stuck in the river it becomes a cumbersome task to get them out.”
“Travelling by boat is also a very long and tiring journey,” he quipped.
The construction of the bridge will not only reduce the problems of the citizens of Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur but will also work as a bridge for connecting Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh.
About Author: Nazar Abbas is a citizen journalist based in Rahim Yar Khan, working with PakVoices.
Translated by Aneela Riazuddin