20 snow clearing vehicles lay idle during Murree blizzard: Probe | Investigation report likely to be submitted to CM Punjab on Monday

20 snow clearing vehicles lay idle during  Murree blizzard: Probe | Investigation report likely to be submitted to CM Punjab on Monday

Monitoring Desk

RAWALPINDI: The committee formed to probe the Murree tragedy has revealed that out of the total 29 snow clearing vehicles available, 20 were laying idle at the same place near Sunny Bank when blizzard hit the hill station last week.
According to media reports, the four-member investigation team has recorded the statements of local administration, operational officers and Rescue 1122 officials.
The report also disclosed that drivers and related staff of the snow clearing vehicles were also not on duty.
The committee highlighted the failure of relevant departments including forest department in taking pre-emptive measures in light of the weather alerts issued by the Met Office. The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) in its advisory, issued on January 6, had deemed the weather unsafe with clear forewarnings about an imminent snowstorm, directing the concerned departments to block the roads leading to the tourist spot – the site of the tragic incident that claimed 23 lives on January 9.
The district administration only barred about 50,000 vehicles from entering Murree during the snowstorm, according to the report.
The media reports further said that the committee headed by additional chief secretary also recorded statement of Deputy Commissioner Rawalpindi Muhammad Ali, additional deputy commissioner, CPO Sajid Kayani, Chief Traffic Officer Timur Khan, field officers of traffic police, assistant commissioner Murree, National Highway Authority (NHA) officials and motorway police officers.
The added that the investigation report will likely to be submitted to the Punjab chief minister on Monday and action will be taken against those responsible for the tragedy in light of the findings.
By 6 pm on January 7, more than 30,000 vehicles had entered Murree and the roads were blocked due to heavy snowfall but the administration did not close the routes,” the report pointed out. Further, the findings of the report highlight that the delayed call to the army for rescue operations, coupled with delayed coordination on emergency, further deteriorated the incident, leading to preventable causalities.
The parking capacity of the vehicles was exceeded by more than 120%, the report disclosed.