CHITRAL: Soil erosion destroyed a large section of Booni Road along a river in Reshun village of Upper Chitral district on Saturday morning cutting off the area with other parts of the country.

More than 15 houses were partially or completely damaged and crops standing over hundreds of acres of land were destroyed in the incident.

The road closure left thousands of travellers stranded.

Former district councillor Amirullah told Dawn that the river was in high flood due to the rapid glacier melting during the current week affecting Reshun village.

He said soil erosion had swallowed up around 300 meters section of Booni Road.

Over 15 houses, standing crops damaged

The former councillor said the affected area had steep mountains through which diversion couldn’t be built for heavy vehicles.

He said the road repairs weren’t possible until the start of November.

Mr Amirullah said the chief minister visited the village in Sept last year and was apprised of the ground situation many times for necessary work, but to no avail.

The political and civil society activists criticised the government over failure to build bulwark along the river to protect the road.

Sources said the government had approved Rs380 million funds for the construction of protection walls along rivers in both Upper and Lower Chitral districts, including Reshun area, but they weren’t utilised.

They blamed it on red tape in irrigation, relief and planning departments.

The sources also said the National Highway Authority took over the Booni Road from the provincial government last Jan but didn’t spend a single penny on it.

When contacted, adviser to the chief minister Wazirzada acknowledged the delay in the start of work to protect the Booni Road in Reshun.

He said the NHA engineers had rushed to the troubled spot to provide diversion to the stranded vehicles and the exercise could take four to six days to complete.

“I’m contacting the relevant authorities to declare an emergency in the area for the early rehabilitation of the road and protection of the agricultural lands,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2021

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