Kalam Valley link roads blocked

Army, FC set up crisis management centres to clear off main roads in Balochistan, Chitral


A view of the Kalam Valley covered in snow. PHOTO: SHEHZAD KHAN / EXPRESS

SWAT: Residents of upper Swat are facing intense problems after roads were blocked following heavy snowfall in the region.

Residents hailing from Kalam Valley, Mankiyal, Utrore, Gabral and Peshmal areas of Bahrain tehsil in Swat district said roads linking the areas to Grand Trunk (GT) Road were blocked after intermittent snowfall in the valley.

A local journalist, Hayat Muhammad Kalami, told The Express Tribune that though machinery was installed to remove snow from the main roads, the link roads were still covered and nothing had been done to clear them.

People of the area also faced food shortages.

Muhammad Amin, a driver hailing from Bahrain tehsil said that the price for a litre of diesel in other areas across the district was Rs72, but they were forced to pay Rs85 per litre in Bahrain tehsil.

Nazir Ahmad, a resident of Kas Valley said that liquefied petroleum gas was scarce in the valley and people used firewood to survive the harsh weather conditions. “Local residents were using firewood they collected from a nearby forest to stay warm but now the guards are not allowing the locals to collect wood,” he said.

Criticising the forest officials, he said that locals were now forced to bear the temperature fearing the forest guards would slap a fine on them.

Crisis management

Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps (FC) have set up an Assistance Camp and Crisis Management Centres in order to provide assistance to motorists stranded on roads of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Balochistan, following the heavy snowfall and rainfall in the areas.

Army and FC troops have been deployed to clear off roads in Chitral and Balochistan and subsequently restore vehicular traffic.

The Lowari Tunnel in Chitral and roads from Quetta to Karachi (NHW 25), Quetta to Sukkur (NHW 65) and Taftan to Quetta (NHW 40) were opened on late Saturday for vehicles to ply smoothly.

FC Balochistan has established Crisis Management Centres in Quetta, Sibi, Ziarat, Pishin, Loralai, Kallat, and Khuzdar.

The civil administration has also issued advisory to the general public to avoid unnecessary travelling on roads in Balochistan and G-B as inclement weather may cause hurdles on their way to respective destinations. (With additional input from APP)

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2017.

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