CHITRAL: The residents have complained that all three major arteries of Chitral, including Lowari-Chitral City Road, Booni Road and Garam Chashma Road, are in bad shape.

They told Dawn that the National Highway Authority took over the control of the roads spread over 250 kilometres from the provincial government but failed to establish an office or post even a sub-engineer for their maintenance in the region.

The residents said the nearest NHA maintenance office was located in Batkhela with a deputy director posted there, who couldn’t ensure the upkeep of the roads in five districts, including Malakand, Lower and Upper Dir and Lower and Lower Chitral at the same time.

They complained that all three roads of Chitral had developed potholes and ditches, while the two of them passing through hilly terrains were frequently hit by boulders and avalanches.

Amirullah Khan, the district president of the PPP, Upper Chitral, said the poor condition of the region’s federalised roads showed the neglect of the ruling PTI.

He said the winter season passed in the region without snowfall and rains, so the hilly roads were not blocked by avalanches and boulders.

The PPP leader regretted that there was no government agency to restore vehicular traffic on roads.

“The transfer of roads from the communication and works department to the NHA left a vacuum to the misery of the people. The new custodian of the roads [NHA] has yet to do something about the dilapidated roads,” he said.

The PPP leader said the C&W department used to keep machinery and workforce ready for clearing snow and avalanches from the roads during the winter season.

He said the residents hoped that communications minister Murad Said would bring improvement in the affairs of the NHA, especially regarding the maintenance of roads in Chitral, which bordered his Swat district.

Civil society activist Waqas Ahmad regretted that the condition of the region’s roads was deteriorating due to lack of maintenance.

KILLED: A man was gunned down in Damil village of Arandu area here the other day.

The gunmen reportedly fled to the neighbouring area of Afghanistan.

The police said Sheraz, Usman and Qayyum opened fire at Abdul Wahab after altercation over the de-silting of their common irrigation channel.

He said raids were being made to arrest the alleged killers.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2021

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