Talking to Dawn, they also accused contractor Mohammad Khan of changing the design of the bridge and decreasing its width in connivance with the officials of the works department though Rs140 million had been sanctioned for the project.
When the residents held a protest demonstration against the poor quality work on the bridge connecting their area with other parts of the district, the contractor assured them that fresh and quality material would be used in the project. However, a few days later he restarted work at the site using the same old stuff.
When the bridge collapsed in August 2006, the local residents had collected its material including strings, bolts and plunks and stored them in a nearby field. With the passage of time most of the material got damaged due to weathering and became unfit for use.
The residents of Yarkhun said the reconstruction of the only bridge connecting their area with other parts of the district had been in the cold storage for the over three years.
Official sources said the executive engineer works had imposed Rs1.4 million fine on the contractor and also recommended his blacklisting for failing to complete the project on time but so far action has not been taken against him.
Public representatives in the area said Mohammad Khan was also responsible for inordinate delay and poor quality work in major development projects in the district. They said misuse of funds, delay and poor quality work had been detected in a number of projects.
They cited the examples of the Booni-Shandur road, Molkhow road and Mastuj bridge projects which were awarded to the same contractor wholly or partially and were still incomplete.
When contacted, contractor Mohammad Khan rejected all the allegations and said to avoid backlash of the residents of Yarkhun, MNA Shahzada Mohiuddin and MPA Ghulam Mohammad were trying to make him a scapegoat and tarnish his image among the local people.
He said the elected representatives had tried to award the project to their cronies by floating tenders three times which caused delay in completion of the work. He said neither he was using the old material in the reconstruction of the bridge nor had reduced its width.
About extra payment made to him in the Attahk water project, he said the earlier estimate was made by an inexperienced consultant, after which another consultant raised the cost of the completed work, adding most of the payment had still not been made to him.