The romanticized name Dabang has again resurfaced on writings and social media posts for new appointed Deputy Commissioner Irshad Sodhar. A writer in local online Urdu newspaper got published an article titled ‘Dabang entry’ on the arrival of new appointed deputy commissioner. Same stylistically charged write-ups and comments appeared on social media critiquing this entry with their own analyses. It was interesting to read a facebook-ish writer continued to hurl scorn on those who write on new DC saying that they don’t have any other topic to write but interestingly he himself had chosen him his own topic of writing. It shows that the public mindset tended critically at how administrative matters being handled.
The usage of Dabang style goes back in upper Chitral during 2011-12. It continued to be usedforStation House Officer (SHO) Mr. Sultan Baig for some time. He happened to be a popular SHO in Booni police station because of the actions he took against youth vandalism in the area.
A video clip few days back showing a vehicle disposing hospital wastes off into Chitral river turned viral on social media. It brought the activism of new appointed deputy commissioner to light when three employees of District Headquarter Hospital Chitral were suspended on this issue. Closely investigating the case, Director General Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also visited Chitral on Thursday 12, October. The matter is still under investigation taking this case in its logical conclusion.
After the supply of power from SRSP constructed Golen hydro-power house to town Chitral, today the most pressing problem of the dumping of wastes has gripped public attention. It has been a public nuisance, and a problem for Municipal and district administration to deal with the shortage of manpower, machinery and place of wastes dumping.Had our DC seen the status of sanitation and road system two years before he would have had a very different perspective on “aesthetic deterioration” in Chitral. Finding a suitable wastes dumping location away from bazaar and households in town Chitral is a possibility but its standard maintenance keeping pollution and health-risks emanating from it is also demanding.
Dealing with pollution problem district administration with the support of Civil Society Organizations can install dustbins for litters, preceded by an awareness drive in the area. The administration, taking the support of private sector organizations, can also establish Recyclables’ Collection Plant(s) in Chitral, which could help separating trashes from useables. This initiative will have the potential of creating jobs for some people and benefit for investors.
On the directives of new appointed DC signboards, billboards and promotion Adds installed in the area of Chew bridge were also removed keeping natural outlook of the area and vulnerability of these installations in view. He may think of installing government billboards for advertisements in this prime location also. Even after the action of former deputy commissioner Osama Ahmad Warraich (late) removing encroachments in Chitral town remains unfulfilling. Graffiti and pasting of public notices and job opportunities from old PIA chowk to hospital road, and some other places on roadside are also defacing town.
Connecting public with administrative apparatus of district administration he also intends to reorganize “DC Volunteer Task Force” and introducing e-citizen portal for reporting and registering public complaints for redressal, a post on official Facebook page of DC reads. This would be a first initiative of its nature using virtual technology for e-governance, and has been a tool of public information.
Given the CPEC-oriented prospects Chitral is going to be a hub for business ventures, and boosting of tourism industry in the near future. The only potential industry in Chitral which brings, and contributes in national, provincial and district economy is tourism industry and hospitality. The foreign tourists, according to a data of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), visited Pakistan in 2016 were 1.75 million but unluckily tourism in district Chitral has remained limited in Kalash valley only.
The approved alternate route under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to link Gilgit and Chitral via Shandur with district Dir through Lowari tunnel would start possibly upcoming year. The CPEC stimulated wave of change in economy, politics, culture, language and social life of the people of Chitral in the making. Given the situation seriously our political and social activism should redirect public lookout and business orientations for this inevitability.
Since there was a few meters long two-way road on the right side of Chitral Scouts cantonment for many years, has now been extended to Chew bridge two year before. After partitioning and installing breakers on bypass road risks factor has lessened, accidents and collisions reduced but the road for pedestrians is still non-existing. If 40-50 percent population in town Chitral having their own personal vehicle(s) but the majority in the area and periphery, and people from other parts throng in district headquarter everyday don’t have a pedestrian road-footpath to walk safely. This is what our pedestrians and commuters have to endure in changing town Chitral.
Making some slow-working or un-working cog(s) in district administrative machinery vibrant, however,is much needed undertaking given the CPEC imperatives, sanitation, cleanliness, provision of good services and tourism in districtChitral. These will continue to be relevant areas for district administration for intervention, and fulfilling public faith on administrative services in the administrative unit of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
(The writer is MPhil research scholar at the University of Peshawar).