CHITRAL: The remote Sarghuz village near Mastuj town has been reconnected with rest of the district after four years as a jeepable suspension bridge destroyed by boulders has been rehabilitated.
The Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) rebuilt the bridge at a cost of Rs5 million under its program for economic advancement and community empowerment (Peace) project.
SRSP chief executive officer Shahzada Masoodul Mulk inaugurated the bridge the other day. Villagers in large numbers had gathered at the site and were cheered up at being reconnected with rest of the district after a long time.
The local elders said that the villagers, including women and children, had staged a hunger strike to press the government to rehabilitate the bridge, but to no avail. They lauded the SRSP for coming to their rescue and reconstructing the bridge.
They said that the people had to walk for two hours to reach Mastuj town to catch a vehicle for other parts of the district.
They said that the bridge also provided a short-cut to the Laspur valley and onwards to Gilgit-Baltistan through Shandur Pass.
Nagina Jan, a 10th grader, said that the girl students were the worst affected as they couldn’t attend to school regularly after the destruction of the suspension bridge.
She said that they had to walk across the damaged bridge putting their lives in peril while going to school. “The reconstruction of the bridge has filled us with joy,” said Nagina.
On the occasion, Shahzada Mulk urged the villagers to strengthen local organisations in solving their problems and securing trust of the donor organisations.
He asked the local community organisations to chalk out a strategy for maintenance of the bridge which is of primary importance for the village and the adjoining valleys of Laspur.
SRSP district programme manager Tariq Ahmed said that work on the rehabilitation of the bridge got completed in eight months.
Meanwhile, another suspension bridge was inaugurated at Sweer in lower Chitral which was also constructed by SRSP at a cost of Rs8.6 million.
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2014