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Construction materials disappearing from Chitral bazaars

cement As thousands of houses and other buildings were either damaged or washed away by flash floods in July-August or collapsed and developed cracks during the massive earthquake on Oct 16, the affected families are unable to rebuild shelters for themselves again. Despite repeated promises and announcements, the government has failed to provide monetary compensation to most of the people, especially in upper Chitral. And the lucky ones who were handed over cheques say that the compensation amounting to Rs100,000 was not enough even to build a single room. The reason is that foreseeing the high demand, profiteers and unscrupulous elements have created an artificial shortage of the construction materials in Chitral, sending the prices skyrocketing. When contacted, a shopkeeper in the Drosh town told ChitralToday on phone on Sunday evening that he had quite sufficient stock of cement and was selling it for Rs720 per bag. But when the same cement bag reaches Chitral town it may not be available at this cost due to the fares. And what to talk of the problems being faced by the people of remote villages of upper Chitral who have to pay the fares of transportation fixed by the drivers. A single cement bag may not be available in upper Chitral even for a thousand rupees. Secondly, due to the shortage of wood and in order to protect their homes against rain, people mostly use tin sheets on the roof of the houses. But with the damages to the houses during the floods and then the quake, these tin sheets also disappeared from the local markets. The affected people are not in a position to travel to Batkhela, Timargarah or any other city to bring the material as they have no cash in hands and the Lowari pass is also going to be closed due to snowfall.]]>

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