Protesters from flood-hit Golen block Chitral-Mastuj road

CHITRAL: People of Golen valley in a large number on Saturday blocked the Chitral-Mastuj road at Mashelik in protest against government departments’ failure to come to their assistance after their villages were devastated by flash floods on Monday.

They said that in July last year when their area was disconnected from the rest of the district, a helicopter reached the area and rescued Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister who was on a tour of the valley. But now it is five days wince the flood cut off links to the area but there is no help to rescue the stranded people and provide them relief items.

One of the protesters and social activist retired Subedar Muhammad Khan told ChitralToday on phone that stranded people had been waiting for a helicopter to evacuate patients and provide essential medicines but so far neither there was any chopper nor supply of any medicines.

He said in his own house, there was a delivery case but he was unable to do anything as the tracks opened by rescuers could only be used by healthy and young people, not by patients or expecting mothers.

Former councillor Safir Ullah said the residents were forced to protest as they were in a very ugly situation. He criticized the role of WAPDA, the district government and other departments for their callous attitude towards the calamity-hit people of Golen valley.

The protesters said after five days of the flood, the district administration has so far arranged food packages for 50 people and another same packages have been brought to Koghuzi but it was not sufficient as all the residents of Golen have been affected by the floods.

The protesters also criticized the government and WAPDA for its poor planning and said the road to the headwork of the 108 megawatt Golen powerhouse should not have been constructed along the stream rather much above it.

They said last year after the road was washed away by flash floods it was reconstructed at the same site and this year it was swept away again.

They also pointed out that pipes supplying irrigation and drinking water to Chitral town and other areas have also been laid along the roadside and due to frequent human communication the road gets damaged.

They said the people of Golen would not allow and resist laying of pipelines from their area to other parts of Chitral through the roadsides.

The protesters warned that if their demands were not met, they would be compelled to extend their protest and launch a protest sit-in.–Muhkam Uddin Ayuni

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