The Wapda authorities at Mangla have held the AJK Highways Department entirely responsible of the sinking of a portion of dual carriageway section of Mirpur-Kotli Highway near Khaliqabad village here.

The Wapda claimed that the highway department neither consult, nor sought any formal ‘No Objection Certificate’ while expanding the highway to the dual carriageway from Mirpur city to Khaliqabad cross.

It is to be recalled that a big portion of the recently-constructed dual carriageway portion of Mirpur-Kotli Highway from F/3 (Part-1) to Khaliqabad, passing through the left bank of Mangla dam lake, was suddenly washed away on Thursday reportedly following seepage of water from the recently-raised Mangla dam’s reservoir.

When contacted Mangla Dam Raising Project General Manager Sarwar Memon told “The Nation” here on Friday that none of the AJK authorities concerned particularly the Highways Department had consulted the Wapda authorities prior to the recently expansion of Mirpur-Kotli Highway to the dual carriageway - nor they obtained any NOC for doubling of the road.

To a question, Memon pointed out that that the dual carriage way portion of the Mirpur-Kotli Highway was built by encroaching upon up to 50 feet area of the dam. He made it clear and the Wapda had raised a total of 13.50 km portion of Mangla dam. He said that the raising portion of the dam included main Mangla dam, Sukhiyan and Jari Kass pockets of the reservoir.

“The affected location of Mirpur-Kotli Highway’s portion was collapsed due to erosion of the land on the periphery of the Mangla lake to which the highway was extended without prior consultation with the Wapda authorities”, Memon claimed while responding a question.

The water level in the dam remained to the stipulated highest level of 1,242.00 feet for the last 17 days. The portion of the highway sank when the water was at the level of 1206.00 feet on Thursday.

To another question, Memon observed that variation of the traffic on Mirpur-Kotli Highway primarily caused the sinking and washing away of the portion of the dual carriageway.

Meanwhile, the Wapda experts including consultants Friday visited the affected site of the Mirpur-Kotli Highway to ascertain causes of the sinking of the big portion of the road.

At the same time, an emergent high level meeting was held here on Friday with Divisional Commissioner Mirpur Raja Amjad Pervez Ali Khan in the chair to discuss and ascertain causes of the collapse of a portion of the dual carriage.

The meeting was attended among others by consultant-cum-expert of dams from Wapda, Dr Izhar, Mangla General Manager Sarwar Memon besides officials of the District Administration, AJK Highways Department and Mangla Dam Resettlement Organization.

Despite repeated attempts by this Correspondent to their comment, none of the AJK Highways Department senior officer picked up phone.

It is to be noted that Mirpur-Kotli Highway was expanded to dual carriageway from Old Octroi Post at Sector F-3 Part-1 to Khaliqabad village by a general contractor instead of any reputed and credible construction company of the good repute.

The AJK Prime Minister had also reportedly summoned a special meeting during his visit to Mirpur on Friday at his local residence to discuss and review the causes of the collapse of a portion of the newly-constructed dual carriageway of Mirpur-Kotli Road.