Road lights along Margalla Hill await CDA’s attention

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  • Along 9km hilly route, out of order road lights pose serious threat to public safety
  • CDA official held monkeys responsible for non-functioning of lights

ISLAMABAD: The majority of the road lights along city’s tourists’ heart Daman-e-Koh, that draws a significant number of tourists daily, are non-functional, posing serious threat to the safety of the visitors and the residents.

More than half of the lights along the 9km hilly route, having many dangerous sharp curves, require the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) urgent attention for overhauling to ensure the safety of the tourists and the locals.

Umar Khatak, a motorcyclist, said that two-wheelers were more prone to accidents as the motorists coming from the opposite side use high beams, creating more visibility problem due to darkness on the road. “I had a narrow escape in a sudden encounter with a drove of pigs that suddenly appeared from inside the jungle last Sunday night near Tilhar village’s entrance,” said Sibtain Bukhari who had come with his family to visit the scenic site.

“I was lucky enough to control my vehicle,” he said. He urged for early restoration of the out of order lights for public safety. A foreign visitor, at the Monal Restaurant, said that he was inspired from the beauty of the area and was a frequent visitor. “Traveling at night with family on a dark road was a matter of concern which must be taken up seriously,” he remarked.

“I still remember when I came Pakistan for the first time and compelled to visit this place due to the zigzag route from the Zero Point appeared as a big snake moving in the Margalla Hills. However, this time, the trail of lights on the route seems missing due to defunct roadside lights.”

Expressing his dismay of the situation, the Monal Restaurant chief administrator said that their business activities start during night and almost 500 tourists daily enjoy food at their facility. “The mishandling of affairs at CDA’s part could affect the business of the area’s picnic spots that allure majority of the tourists under open sky in summer season,” he added.

Admitting his department’s failure to fix the issue, a CDA official at the Maintenance and Lights Department said that paucity of funds was a hurdle to resolve the problem once and forever. However, he held monkeys responsible for non-functioning of the lights and said they break the top structure of the lights where bulbs were intact.

He said that some bad elements deliberately damaged the lights for the fulfilment of their wicked plans. The flexible mode of the lights attracts them to play with, thus they get damaged. He also had a justified excuse for the shortage of maintenance staff and vehicles to address day-to-day complaints.

The official said that the issue was likely to be fixed in the coming weeks as earlier, the sharing of power between CDA and Metropolitan Cooperation of Islamabad was the main hurdle in sorting out the issue.