CHITRAL, July 11: The bridge at Zhupu, connecting the upper and far-off villages of Yarkhun with other parts of the valley, has collapsed due to the rising flooding in the river.
As a result, thousands of people have stranded in their villages while those outside cannot reach the area. Some people from the area reached here and complained that the area was facing shortage of essential commodities. They also said the bridge in Zhupu was washed away due to the negligence of the department concerned. They said the local community had been trying to protect the bridge but the government did not pay any heed to its repair and maintenance.
In March this year, the residents of the area had complained that the ramshackle wooden suspension bridge over the river in Zhupu village connecting Yarkhun valley and Broghil was about to collapse. Talking to ChitralToday, the representatives of the people had said no special repair of the bridge had ever been carried out since the construction of the bridge in 1993.
The communication and works (C&W) department always ignored the bridge. The wooden planks in the deck of the bridge had been smashed while one of the beams also stood damaged causing the bridge to tilt on one side and the structure can no more withstand the live load on it. The anchors on either side of the bridges have been slipped making them feeble to bear the high tension in the cables.
The collapse of the bridge has made more than five thousand households stranded on Broghil side and famine like situation can arise as commodities of daily use will run out in the absence of replenishment. The residents of Yarkhun had approached all the concerned quarters in the government to carry out repair of the bridge situated in a sensitive location but to no avail and they have no option other than waiting its collapse.
The people of Yarkhun valley and Baroghil have no alternative route and they are constrained to take the risk of their lives and vehicles by crossing this bridge on a daily basis.–Nazir Hussain