CHITRAL: Transporters on routes to and from Chitral are fleecing commuters even though the distance betwen Chitral and other cities has reduced after construction of the Lowari tunnel.
The authorities have been asked to bring down public transport fares between Chitral and other cities as the completion of the Lowari tunnel has cut the journey by two hours.
Former Jughoor village nazim Sajjad Ahmed Khan said by using the Lowari tunnel the journey had been shortened by two hours. He said due to the special topography of the Lowari Pass and the tricky nature of the dirt road, special fares had been fixed but the drivers were still fleecing the passengers.
Mr Ahmed said as village nazim he had got a resolution passed in the district council, and also written letters to the district administration, demanding to rationalise the fares which were exorbitant compared to other adjacent districts.
The former village nazim said single fare between Upper Dir and Peshawar was Rs450 against the distance of 271 kilometres, while it was Rs700 between Upper Dir and Chitral against a distance of only 108 kilometres.
He said car drivers took Rs1,050 and Rs1,500 per passenger for journey from Peshawar to Upper Dir and Upper Dir to Chitral. He said there was no rationale behind the inflated fares between Dir and Chitral after completion of the tunnel.
Mr Ahmed said fare of passenger coaches from Peshawar to Chitral was fixed at Rs540, but the transporters charged Rs1,150 per passenger.
The fares of goods transport were also dictated by the transporters with the result that prices of daily use items showed an upsurge in the Chitral markets.
He regretted that truckers took Rs300 to Rs340 for 50kg weight between Peshawar and Chitral as against Rs100 only from Peshawar to Upper Dir.
Lower Chitral deputy commissioner Naveed Ahmed also admitted that the fares were high and needed to be rationalised.
He said fixing of fares was beyond the powers of the district administration but promised to take up the issue with the Regional Transport Authority once he was relieved of the emergency situation arising out of Covid-19 pandemic.