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Murree tragedy occurred due to the negligence of administration: Reports

The tragedy of Murree occurred due to the negligence of the administration, reported the five-membered investigation committee on Sunday.

According to the sources, the committee formulated the findings into a draft and will present the report before Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar tomorrow (Monday).

The committee reviewed the statements of survivors and officers in Murree, recorded the statements of more than 30 officers of the administrative departments. The tourists described the night of January 7 and 8 as a horrific experience.

As per the issued details, the tragedy occurred due to the negligence of the administration . The roads leading to Murree should have been closed after 3 days. The snow had fallen for five days on the routes while the government had closed the routes with a delay of 2 days.

At one place the snow clearing machine was available whole of the staff was not on duty. The Meteorological Department s warning was also ignored.

Earlier on January 9, following the direction of Punjab CM Buzdar, the four-membered investigation committee was formulated.

The convener of the committee will be Additional Chief Secretary Home Zafar Nasrullah while other members include Ali Sarfraz, Asad Gilani and Farooq Mazhar. The committee will decide the heads of government institutes and will also investigate why were the high alert warnings of Met department not followed by the government institutes.

The committee will probe into the matters pertaining to why no warning was issued on TV while no information was conveyed about the traffic over-flow to Muree. The Committee will investigate why no ban was imposed on entering Murree and why no precautionary measures against snow-storm were taken?

The initial report of the tragic incident that took place in Murree was presented to Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Sardar Usman Bazdar on Sunday.

According to details, it was mentioned in the report that during past four days, 162,000 vehicles entered Murree. The deaths occurred due to excess carbon monoxide. On January 7, four feet of snow fell in 16 hours.

The report stated that due to falling of trees at 16 places the flow of traffic was badly disrupted. At least 21,000 vehicles were sent back, 22 people were killed in 4 to 5 vehicles, these people died due to excessive carbon monoxide. The power has been restored across 70% of the areas, conveyed the report.

The construction of major road in Murree was not constructed since two years while the other roads were blocked with snow. No arrangement of clearing snow on urgent basis were provided by the government.

It was also mentioned that due to power outage in snow-storm, many of the tourists had preferred to stay in their cars. Meanwhile, the DC and CPO Rawalpindi were paying visit due to which no vehicle was allowed to move.

The Assistant Commission and DSP were present to deal with the traffic management. There is no parking plaza in Murree where the vehicles could be parked. The local administration started to cater the affectees after 8am when the snow-storm had stopped.

CM Buzdar formulated a committee under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary for further investigation into the tragedy.

On the other hand, Punjab government on Sunday decided to provide financial assistance to the heirs of those killed in Murree incident.

According to details, a meeting was held under the presidency of Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar during which it was decided that the heirs of 22 people who succumbed to death will be given Rs8 hundred thousand each. Meanwhile, for the distribution of the funds a grant of more than Rs1080 million has been approved by the government.

On the other hand, CM announced to give Murree the representation of a full-fledged district. He reiterated that no surplus traffic will be allowed to enter the premises of Murree.

During the meeting, the discussion took place on the matters pertaining to the maintenance and construction of more link roads in Murree.

Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar conducted an aerial inspection of the areas of Murree, affected due to heavy snowfall.

CM reviewed the relief activities being carried out in the affected areas and also observed the relief operation.

The Relief Commissioner/Senior Member Board of Revenue during the visit gave a briefing to the CM about relief activities.

Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat, Special Assistant to CM Punjab on Information Hassan Khawar, Chief Secretary, IG Police and other officers concerned were also present.