Problems of Garam Chashma

by Sultan Mehmood, Garam Chashma


The floods of July 2015 played havoc not only with the lives and properties of people but also washed away basic infrastructure including roads and water supply schemes in every nook and corner of district Chitral. Some of the roads and water supply schemes were partially restored and then ignored.

The cases in point are Main Garamchashma road and Angarghone water supply scheme and both have been left to be washed away again when water level rises in coming few days. The Garamchashma road connects a population of 50000 and three valleys of Arkari, Karimabad and Lotkuh with the rest of the country. Hundreds of travellers travel on this road on daily basis. Civil courts, hospitals and institution of higher studies and NADRA office etc are located in Chitral town and people from all the three valleys of Garamchashma have to travel to district headquarters for the purpose of treatment, litigation, education and obtaining ID cards and for other purposes.

This road will be surely blocked in the next few days if not protected by timely intervention by the concerned department. The entire Garamchashma valley will be disconnected from the rest of Pakistan and will run short of supplies. The patients with serious ailments will die without availing the chance of treatment. Litigants will miss the hearings in courts and job seekers will miss their interviews and students will be deprived of education because of no fault of their own.

The road remained blocked for well over one and half month last year making the valley a virtual prison for its inhabitants. All kind of basic supplies and commodities were airlifted to the area which incurred ten times higher cost. Then the local people repaired the damaged road from Angarghon onward and opened it on their own. After opening the road on temporary basis, the concerned department forgot it to be washed away again.

With timely intervention the road can be protected otherwise with melting of snow the river level will rise and both the road and pipes of Angarghon water scheme will be washed away. It is not difficult to imagine the miseries and suffering of people if there is no road and drinking water available. The authorities have seen how the poor women of Chitral town suffered for months last year when the water connection was disrupted. They had to wait till dark to fetch water from distant streams. Ramadan is also approaching and with water gone in Ramadan the suffering of people will further compound.

This is high time for the authorities of concerned department to wake up from their deep slumber and take immediate remedial measures to save the Garam Chashma road and Angarghon water supply scheme.