We are still in agony: it is the transport mafia

By Ghulam Murtaza

The system of transportation in Chitral has always been a serious issue. And every commuter or long traveler has to face the transportation problems in daily basis.

The transportation charges for commuters are way too high, and it happens to rest who travel to another city. “In our case, it is difficult to ask from a passenger, which problem is faced by you the most?” you can face everything of the poor facilities on your way to a destination.
“The Top tunnel will reduce the current fourteen-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar by 50%. The tunnel will also facilitate all-weather transportation, as during the long winter season the Lowari Pass is closed, and people of Chitral have to travel into down cities and then back into Chitral to reach the rest of the country. When the border is closed Chitral remains virtually inaccessible during the winter” (quoted) Lowari tunnel is open today and we are happy  because it would ease the long journey, would might facilitate all-weather Transportation or reduce the long torturing hours, but the frequent problems that we face regards to this issue is not over yet.   Lowari Top was a good piece of Sample to make an excuse for the transport mafia including the drivers, “and Chitralis are all time in a “good book” to make up such blunders of other with “right you are,” so as with our innocent drivers and with the rest of them.
Lowari tunnel is open and long hours are short today, but transport mafia still uses different tactics to torture the passengers from Chitral to different cities of country. Public Transport fares are often regulated by the concern authorities, but enforcement is not seen for the implementation of the specified fares. We have seen many posts and letters complaining about the high fares on Chitral Islamabad and Peshawar Chitral routes but still the issue of high fares for both commuters and long travelers is a headache and the concerned authorities are keeping mum to protect the helpless passengers from exploitation by unscrupulous operators.
Most of our people are dependent on the mini buses (flying couches) because the luxurious services from Chitral to other cities are not affordable for them. When some unfortunate incident happens unintentionally then it is an accident. But our case is very different. Most of the accidents happen in our routes are due to “transport mafia’s carelessness and due to bad habits of the drivers. How these operators uses these mini buses in long routes are, only to get  “pecuniary advantage” regardless of passengers convenience and safety. And for local drivers of Chitral, it is fierce proud moment to load more than a capacity.
Furthermore, these mini buses have limited seating capacities, but they are loaded with more more-than-capacity passengers and this reckless attitude of the operators and the drivers can turn it to hazardous accidents. There are many other issues which cause major hurdles for the mobility of people and create annoying experience on the routes. The district government has been lacking a strategy to deal with it. And the innocent people are facing it from decades. We request all the concerned authorities of Chitral to take notice of it, as the problems of transport are increasing, becoming headache and especially a torture for the common people of the District.

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