Hub district administration imposed ban on removing sand and gravel from the bed of river at the Hub Bridge on Sunday.

The district administration has notified constitution of a task force to halt removal of sand and gravel from the bed of Hub River. The task force comprises of five members including the SHO, according to a notification.

The National Highway Authority (NHA) had wrote a letter to Deputy Commissioner Hub seeking ban on removal of sand and gravel from the river in one kilometer area of the bridge to save the bridge structure from further damage.

“Illegal digging of sand and gravel from the place posing serious threat to Hub bridge,” according to NHA letter. “The tractor mafia stealing sand and gravel from the place at large-scale,” the NHA said.

Illegal digging for sand and gravel at the river has exposed the piles of the bridge, the NHA said.

“The contractors in construction business removing sand and gravel on daily basis and with it land surface at the place going down one foot each year.”

The National Highway Authority (NHA) on Saturday declared the bridge over Hub River connecting Karachi as safe for travelling after footages shared on social media highlighted its dilapidated condition.

Clarifying the matter, the NHA said that the 530-metre long bridge at Hub River was built 50 years back and has a strong structure without any technical faults.

Director NHA Kashif Ali Shaikh said that illegal digging for reti and bajri at the river exposed the piles of the bridge and were later strengthened using RCC and steel jacketing in 2017-18. “The structures are now safe after the repair works,” he said.

He said that although the recent rains and flood in the river caused damage to the outer walls of the bridge constructed by the NHA, however, its inner structure is intact.

The NHA official said that they would carry out the repair works at the damaged outer wall of the bridge to further strengthen the piles, in order to save it from any major flooding in future.