YARKHUN: Scores of villages on the right bank of River Yarkhun from Yukum to Meragram No 2 remain cut-off from other parts of the district as the broken bridge in front of Yukum has been closed due to its dilapidated condition, local people told ChitralToday.
The bridge was constructed in the 1990s but despite a number of mishaps the government did not bother to allocate funds for its maintenance.
In June 2019, a datsun carrying cement from Chitral town to Meragram No 2 almost fell into the river when plunks of the bridge on Yukum side collapsed.
The driver saved his life by jumping to safety as the vehicle remained hanging from the bridge with its front side stuck in the bridge.
Even then the government department concerned did not bother to repair the bridge. The local government allocated a few thousands rupees for its repair but local people alleged even this amount was not fully spent on the repair work.
The locals said besides the broken plunks and wooden girders, the pillars of the bridge installed at the river side on the Yukum village side are now also crumbling as the river was cutting the land. The pillars may collapse with the increase in the volume of water.
They said the government had constructed the bridge to facilitate the villagers but its departments concerned remained callous towards maintenance of the bridge. This has not only created communication issues for the villagers but has also put their life at danger.
Due to the peculiar geography of Chitral, bridges had been built on rivers and streams that connect hundreds of villages across the valley. However, with the passage of time, especially after the severe floods since 2015, most of these bridges were either washed away or damaged.
But reconstruction of the damaged bridges either has not been initiated at all or work on them has been delayed due to non-allocation of funds by the government.
Also, seen 2015 scores of people have lost their lives in bridge collapse incidents in different parts of Chitral.