People from the remote areas of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) have expressed concern over the government’s negligence in repairing roads and bridges damaged in last year’s floods.
They said that they face much difficulty while crossing these damaged roads and bridges, most of which are built over fast flowing waters. The infrastructure damaged by the floods last year had severed the region from the rest of the country for almost one and a half month.
Most of the damaged infrastructure in remote areas of G-B, including Qadamabad, Hussainabad (Ishqamghoro), Dass Payeen and Thalti, still remains unrepaired and is posing threat to the lives of locals in case of further floods. Local representatives Wednesday demanded the government to repair the damaged roads and bridges as a priority.
“We are thankful to Musharraf, the former president, who built metal roads and reinforced concrete bridges. But since most of them were badly damaged by the devastating floods last year nobody has come to repair them,” said Mohammad Amin, a resident of Yasin valley in far north-eastern G-B.
He alleged that the local representatives only provide contracts to specific contractors whom they are in “mutual connivance with”, while the contractors are “least interested in completing the projects on time”.
“This government has done nothing for Yasin valley. There have been no development schemes, no job creation and no community work,” Amin added.
Representatives of Thoi village in Ghizer district said that government officials and local representatives did not properly record details of damages in most parts of G-B, and as a result the real affected people did no receive necessary assistance. Instead, most facilities including Watan Cards reached those people who did not deserve the aid.
When contacted, Ghizer district’s Deputy Commissioner (DC) Shozaib Syed said that the administration has repeatedly issued directives to the relevant authorities to expedite the repair of damaged infrastructure, but their performance is hampered due to lack of available funds.
The DC said that a committee has been formed to monitor all development projects in G-B while proposals to initiate new projects to meet the demands of locals have been sent to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council.
Syed added any contractor found intentionally delaying execution of a project will be strictly dealt with. He urged the local communities to tell him about the derelict contractors.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2011.
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