BATTAGRAM: Over 500 families of Roopkanai village here are cut off from rest of the country as a nullah across the locality doesn’t even have a foot bridge to facilitate people to walk to the other side.

The lush-green village located in the Batela union council is surrounded by high mountains. The Khwar (rain-fed drain) is said to have proven deadly for the villagers as its gushing waters have swollen several lives. For the same reason, the local people call it the killer nullah. When in full flow, crossing the nullah becomes even more dangerous and people sometimes have to wait for days before being able to get to the other side. They face great hardships in bringing daily use items to their homes and shifting patients to hospitals. Residents cross the nullah at various points after covering long distances on foot.

The people lament that no government has ever bothered to build a bridge over the stream. They said though a road had been constructed up to the stream, absence of a bridge over it made the road useless for them.

Mohammad Rehman, a social worker, said from 10 to 15 people had been washed away in the stream in the 1992 and 2010 floods. He said water flow increased in the nullah when monsoon season began or snow on mountains started melting, making it all the more risky to cross the nullah. Khurhsid Anwar, a local resident, said before every election the leaders of political parties made promises to construct the bridge and roads but disappeared after getting votes.

Local MPA Shah Hussain Khan told Dawn he had held several meetings with the chief minister regarding launch of development works in the area. He said the CM had assured him of full cooperation in that regard. He claimed that construction of bridges and link roads in Batela and Paashto areas had been included in the ADP, but due to non-provision of funds work on the projects could not start.

MNA Qari Mohammad Yousaf, who is also member of the NA Standing Committee on National Health Services, told Dawn that Rs5 million had been allocated for construction of Batela road. He claimed that he had apprised the prime minister of the need to launch development projects in his constituency.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2016

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