Non-application of SOPs for traffic, snow led to Murree tragedy: report

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  • The Punjabi government has ignored SOPs designed to deal with traffic and snow during the winter season in Murree, according to a news report.
  • These SOPs assigned TMA Murree to establish a control room, which would have representatives from all departments around the clock.
  • Former CM Shehbaz Sharif used to hold meetings with all relevant departments in Murree to deal with traffic and clear snow during the winter, according to bureaucratic sources.

ISLAMABAD: One of the main reasons for the tragic Murree incident, in which more than 20 tourists lost their lives, is believed to be the Punjab government’s failure to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) designed to ensure smooth flow of traffic and snow removal during the winter. season, according to a report published by The news on Sunday.

A copy of the nine-page SOPs, issued under the last government, envisions a comprehensive joint action plan of all relevant departments with detailed mechanisms to ensure snow removal and traffic flow in this important mountain resort in the country.

Commissioners and deputy commissioners were previously responsible for ensuring the implementation of SOPs with a regular oversight mechanism in place in Lahore, the publication reported, adding that special funds were also allocated to C&W and road departments, in particular. .

According to the SOPs published for 2014, different departments were assigned different tasks from their respective area covering all possible aspects. The SOPs specifically name 30 main roads, which have been assigned priority snow removal by the provincial road machinery division, Murree.

These SOPs assigned TMA Murree to establish Tehsil’s main control room, which would have 24-hour representatives from all departments. Thirteen different tasks have been assigned to the TMA in these SOPs.

The machinery division of the provincial roads department was also tasked with establishing an emergency control room and coordination with allied departments, which must be manned around the clock.

These SOPs say there would be two main snow camps: one in Sunny Bank and the other in Jhika Gali. In addition, there must be 12 sub-camps for snow removal operations for all the different areas of the mountain station.

SOPs say 10 vehicles will be deployed to sprinkle salt. The SOPs indicate that before the onset of snowfall, the highway machines would be placed at the following points for rapid snow removal: Jhika Gali Chowk, Kuldana Chowk, GPO Chowk, Bansra Gali and Sunny Bank Camp. SDO Highway Machinery was commissioned to organize 4×4 jeeps for sprinkling the salt.

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