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Transporters, overload overcharge in Chitral

Chitral --Transportation has forever been a chronic problem for Chitralis. Whether travelling within the town or within the district or out of it travelers have to pay through their nose to avail the basic facilty. Taxis charge a wobbling Rs 100 per kilometer which is probably the most expensive tariff in the world,.and there being no public transportation in the town, commuters are condemned to use these taxis. While travelling in rickety overloaded 'land cruisers' and 'flying coaches' within the district the same coditions meet the traveller.


Despite being aerially connected to the outside, Chitralis have always been insecure about the reliability of the air service due to it being totally dependent on good weather. The air flight between Chitral and Peshawar which is 25 minutes flying time cost Rs 3500, again a very high tariff by any standards.


With the widening of Lowari roads and the tunnel facility last winters, A couple of transporters from down country and Gilgit started operating Coaster service between Chitral and Peshawar/Islamabad. This service began well and was a sigh of relief but soon overeating, overcharging and irregularity has become normal with these coaster services too. If the tunnel (which is closed unreasonably when no work is going on inside) would have been made available transportation prices would have dropped considerably.


Although accessibility of Chitral has improved some bit, with the Lowari tunnel access in winters at least, and induction of Islamabad flights, but the high charges by transporters need to be checked, and this can best be done by encouraging more transporters to join in the competition. by welcoming them and giving them more facilities. --(CN report, 14 June 10)


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