No end to stranded Chitralis’ woes
By Zar Alam Khan
ISLAMABAD: Three months after completion of the excavation work on the Lowari Tunnel, the demand of Chitralis to temporarily open the roadway for commuters cut off from rest of the country due to the blockade of the only land route has not been fulfilled.
As a result, the stranded people have no option but to cross the 10,500-foot-high snow-bound pass on foot. So far, about ten persons have lost their lives and scores of others maimed due to frost biting on the pass.
As the Chitralis celebrated the completion of the first phase of the tunnel on January 14, they were already faced with extraordinary communication troubles due to blockade of even the alternative route via
The jubilation over completion of the tunnel’s first phase started turning sour when the federal ministry of communication rejected proposals to open the tunnel for at least two hours daily and the number of stranded people swelled at Chitral and
Passengers reaching here from Chitral alleged that NHA officials posted on both sides of the tunnel in Dir Upper and Chitral were still issuing permission to selected people to cross the tunnel in vehicles of the Korean Sambu Company constructing the tunnel. “However, poor passengers reaching the tunnel in the hope of being allowed to proceed to their destinations were turned away,” they added. As a last resort, the passengers venture to cross the killer mountain on foot, risking their lives.
The people criticised their elected representatives for failing to persuade the federal government to open the tunnel even for a few hours or make alternative arrangements to resolve their communication-related problems.
They said local political leaders instead of taking up their issues with the authorities concerned were busy in claiming credit for the construction of the Lowari Tunnel. Their infighting has also caused miseries to the residents of Chitral, they added. They said when one political leader tries to initiate a welfare project, his opponents spare no time to sabotage it, making the people suffer.
“Should political leaders who are even not able to get the already-constructed tunnel opened for a few hours claim credit for launching a mega project like the Lowari Tunnel,” one of the Chitralis said.
Tags: Lowari , Zar Alam Khan , Chitral , Tunnel
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