Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
The liquid gold
Chitral lies in the extreme north of the country with borders touching the sierras of high Hindu Kush which make a natural boundary wall. This natural wall guards our land and people against inroads from across the borders.
In the long past, some of the passes were used in summer for traffic in search of food by men from central Asia but at a certain phase of history glaciers blocked most of them except a few like Boroghol, Kankhun, Dorah, Nuqsan, Ursun etc. The great conglomeration of peaks in this section has a good amount of glaciers which is the main source of water for Chitral and down lands. Water resources of Chitral are to be considered a great and invaluable assets of Chitral and rivers are called ‘ liquid gold’ in the terminology of natural resources. Here we discuss the rivers of Chitral and the benefits that we may get from them if we are wise enough to use them.
It is reported that firms and individuals have got lease of the mines that are believed to be hidden in the mountains of Chitral but no work at large scale has been initiated anywhere but compared to the mining work at far flung sites the investors should focus on generating electricity from the rivers of Chitral which is needed by the government, by the industries as well as by the people who have no access to sources of fuel. Price of firewood is already at high level and soaring. Gas is also doing the same.
The generation of electricity is comparatively easier and cheaper as there are scores of ideal sites on the rivers of Chitral for building hydel powerhouses. This source will help people to keep environment clean as in the presence of sufficient electric supply they will not cut trees to be as fire wood but the deposits of various raw minerals faces a number of complications at the administration and geographical level. The waters of Chitral offer a very good alternative vs. mining so my thinking tells me to give priority to invest in the water management sector which can form good base for industries, environment as well as mining.
Chitral area has got a very good network of rivers and streams designed by nature. The longest one is the infant Yarkhun river emanating from around Qurambar lake and Chiantar glaciers in the eastern tip of Chitral that is fed by streams on both sides of the river till it gets a larger amount from Laspur river flowing from the south side peaks that touch Swat and Dir. Below Mastuj the streams continue to feed the river till Kuragh where it gets the next largest tributary ( not from the point of distance but in volume) the Mulkho river which originally comes through Torkho and Terich.
The Torkho river consists of smaller rivers from Ziwar Gol, Ujnu Gol, Moghlang and the Shajinali streams. The Terich river gets water from Longol, Roshgol, Udren and Atahk valley glaciers. The Barum Gol gets water from the south face of Terich Mir. The Karimabad stream emanates from the bottom hills of little Terich Mer also in the south of the main peak. The Arkari valley also gets water from tributaries like Dirgol glacier, Agram Gol, Ghum glacier, Gazikstan glaciers in the last section of Arkari valley above Arkari Oveer. The Garum Chashma river gets water from Begusht valley, Munoor Gol, Gobor – from the two valleys that join at Gobor Bakh.
The Golen river gets water from three main springs that come out near the settlements beside the glacial streams in summer. The rivers from Bumburet and Rumboor join at Dubaj and flow through Ayun to join the main Chitral river.The Birir stream joins the main river above Gahiret. The Shishi river originates from the glaciers of Madak Lasht and Thalo Zom ridges and the stock of glaciers. The Lowari, Naghar and Damel streams also join the main river and then the whole lot enters Afghan territory at Arandu but re-enters Pakistan at Warsak with addition of many streams from that mountain region. On all the rivers and larger streams, any investor shall get good profit in a few years. The liquid gold has to be utilized in the best interest of the country.