Walton Road in abysmal condition

LAHORE: A roughly two-kilometre long section between the Boy Scouts and College Road stops on Walton Road has been in a dilapidated condition for over two months and needs immediate repair.

Riddled with broken surfaces, the road — which leads to the Civil Services Academy and also houses a high-street shopping facility and a number of military installations — is already filled with uneven patches on both sides along the Bab-i-Pakistan project site and has become a nuisance. Ironically, the project itself is awaiting completion for over 36 years now.

The neighbourhood lies in the jurisdiction of NA-131 (Lahore-IX), a traditional Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) constituency being represented in the National Assembly by former minister Khawaja Saad Rafique since 2008.

Walton Road, the site of one of the first refugee camps following the Partition, passes through a network of sprawling neighbourhoods and attends thousands of commuters, mainly students and blue-collar workers, every day.

Now, with the arrival of winter, the dust being stirred up by vehicles travelling on the broken section is adding to the challenge of alarming pollution levels for the locals. “I have started to experience respiratory problems because of the flying dust,” complained Muhammad Yusuf, who lives in the nearby neighbourhood of Saddar and uses Walton Road to travel to his workplace.

Interestingly, the location by virtue of lying in a Cantonment area comes under the jurisdiction of Walton Cantonment Board (WCB) which also collects annual taxes on the pretext of construction and repairing of roads.

“[…] it’s hard to decide if it’s lack of funds or a lack of will [that’s hindering its repairing],” sighed one commuter. “Makes one wonder about their [authorities’] priorities really.”

“I assume the concerned authorities are hesitating [from repairing the road] since it is [located in] an opposition [MP’s] constituency, and they fear retribution [sic] from their higher-ups,” said another when approached for a comment.

The WCB could not be contacted for a comment.

Ahmad Saad
The writer is a member of staff.

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