MASTUJ: The NATCO bus service between Mastuj Upper Chitral and Gilgit has resumed after many years and the locals have welcomed the move.
The NATCO bus service between Gilgit and Mastuj remained closed after the Covid-19 lockdown, creating lots of problems for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral.
A large number of people belonging to various parts of Upper Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan such as Mastuj, Laspur, Gilgit, Gahkuch and Phandar frequently used the transport service.
The NATCO bus service from Gilgit to Mastuj has been one of the most successful routes of the public sector transport company.
The service is usually closed in the winter due to heavy snow on the Shandur Pass. But the pass reopens in April or May. After the Covid pandemic, the bus service remained suspended.
Local people had called upon the government of GB to order the resumption of the bus service from Gilgit to Mastuj in order to facilitate hundreds of passengers who daily used the service.
However, the NATCO authorities were of the view that the road in Laspur in Chitral side was in too much dilapidated shape on which a bus could not be operated.
When the locals approached the district administration of Upper Chitral and the NHA, they told them that they had no fund to repair the road.
At this, the people of Laspur repaired the road on self-help basis and made it possible for NATCO to resume its service to Mastuj.
Hundreds of people from Upper Chitral’s Laspur and Mastuj areas cross over to GB side in search of work even in the winter. Moreover, traders also bring goods, especially Chinese, from the Gilgit city.