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Kalash valley still inaccessible after flooding

CHITRAL, Aug 27: The communication and works department Chitral is yet to start work on the repair of the main road to the Kalash valleys of Bumburate and Rumbur which was damaged during the devastating rains and floods in Ramazan.

The blockade of the road has compelled the residents of the valley to travel on foot and carry loads of goods on their shoulders. Transporters running their vehicles, including taxis in between the blocked areas are charging the passengers heavily and there seems no one to control this. Besides, the area is also facing an acute shortage of edible items and medicines.

A visit to Shekhanandeh, showed that daily-use items which were selling at about Rs50 per kilogram before the road was blocked are now available for over 200 to 300 rupees per kilogram. But in most of the areas these items are not available at all.

A local resident, retired subedar Rahmat Ayub said, “We are purchasing grain items on triple price and now even many items are not available at that price and people here are facing starvation.”

A large number of people, including women, children, aged people and patients, were seen crossing peaks of mountains on foot carrying luggage on their back.

The C&W department has showed its total apathy towards the rehabilitation of the road on time in our area and we are facing lots of hardship these days, said residents of Shekhandeh in the Kalash valley.

Besides, hoteliers in the Kalash valley also complained that their business remained closed for the last one month as no tourist could visit the area due to the blockade of the main road. They said they did business for only six months in the summer but this year due to the closure of the road even in summer season they could not do any business.

The annual religious festival of Kalash community Ochal (Ochao) was also disturbed because the Kalash people could not visit the Chitral bazaar to purchase new clothes and other items. The residents of the valley demanded that the government should take notice of the closure of the road to the tourist resort valley and order reconstruction of the damaged road.—GH Farooqui

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