CHITRAL: The people of Chitral have complained about excessive fares charged both by the passenger vehicles and the goods transporters which were about three times the fares fixed by the transport department thus depriving them of the fruits of completion of Lowari tunnel.

They contended that after opening of the Lowari tunnel for public transport in August 2017 and completion of 20 kilometres approach roads on both sides of it, the duration of travel had been reduced to half but the fares remained unchanged.

They said the transport department fixed the fares, but neither the district government nor the concerned department ever bothered to check its implementation.

Former MPA and PPP leader, Syed Sardar Hussain Shah, said the fares of both passenger and goods vehicles were always dictated by the transport mafia based in Chitral, Dir and Peshawar despite the completion of Lowari tunnel, which had reduced the travel duration through the Lowari tunnel from two-and-a-half-hour arduous journey to only six to eight minutes.

The former MPA said due to apathy of the quarters concerned, goods transporters were free to fleece the traders who, in turn, recovered the losses from the people.

“The fare for 50kg goods from Peshawar to Chitral was Rs350 against that of only Rs100 from Peshawar to Upper Dir,” he said, adding fare between Upper Dir and Peshawar was Rs320 against a distance of 271 kilometers while it was Rs700 between Upper Dir and Chitral against a distance of only 108 kilometres.

Mr Shah said the people of Chitral waited for seven decades for construction of Lowari tunnel but now they were being deprived of the fruits of the project.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2019

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