Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
In an Urdu daily it has been reported that during a hearing the chief justice of Peshawar High Court has commented on the condition of roads in Chitral. He had personally visited Chitral and travelled on the roads and saw its pathetic conditions and the transport system and has expressed his indignation in the open court.
Though the chief justice has not so far taken suo moto action on this particular issue, the remarks are enough to open the eyes of the departments concerned i.e. NHA. He also called the head of that authority and demanded answer for that failure. The comments on the roads and the condition of the passengers make it clear that the chief justice has fully understood the whole situation across and it is a warning for the government to do her duties more actively and allocate funds according to the need of the road system.
The Chitral-Booni road was constructed long ago by special fund under the supervision of NHA but actually under strict control of the Deputy Commissioner Chitral and few patch work repairs were done to it but most of the damages are still pinching. The NAH is not active in Chitral. The work done by the C& W in Chitral is very cumbersome. The Booni-Buzund road was first surveyed in 2007 and it is still bone of contest between the inhabitants of that area, the civil administration and the department concerned. The speed of work is very slow and the work at the rocky section above Kagh Lasht is below standard. It is too narrow, uneven, zigzag and the work of the contractor has not been supervised by the engineers.
The improvement of roads- wide roads up to 30 feet in width is must in this high altitude area where snow and avalanches cover greater parts of the road and leaves only a few feet for vehicles in winters, even if they are constructed at 30 feet width but the present position is too poorly designed. The roads to all the valleys have to be widened and leveled properly to make traffic bumping shocks bearable. It is a basic human necessity and helps in transportation of certain commercial items, patients, tourists etc. Because of the poor roads the tourists face a number of hurdles and give up their program to higher destinations and carry back the same news to their respective areas and tell their friends about their bitter experience of travel to Chitral.
This discourages the potential tourists and they reconsider their itineraries and choose another destination. Even the adventure tourists complain of such poor and risky roads. The people of the valleys are ignorant of their basic right but a long continued nuisance may lead to awareness and activists may use it against the provincial government and would not hesitate to carry the burning issue to the prime Minister.