CHITRAL: The residents of Baroghil valley in Chitral region insist that the recent construction of an all-weather road to Baroghil promises the development of the underdeveloped valley in the country’s northernmost region.
According to them, basic facilities are largely unavailable to them as the valley remains inaccessible for seven months of the year due to harsh weather conditions.
The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme recently built the 32km road with four suspension bridges at the cost of Rs102.28 million. It provides all-weather access to the valley.
Ex-nazim insists AKRSP initiative will help develop agriculture, tourism sectors
Former village nazim Amin Jan Tajik told Dawn that the prolonged winter season cut off the 50km long valley with rest of the country, so the all-weather road’s construction would act as a catalyst for its development.
He said major problems of the residents included the unavailability of essential commodities, healthcare and educational facilities, and abject poverty due to limited sources of income.
The former nazim said bridges and protective structures had protected the road from glaciers and rockslides between Kishmanja, the first village of Baroghil, and Pechaus.
He said the reconstruction of a jeepable track from Ishkarwaz village to Lashkargaz under the AKRSP projecthad connected the valley’s central part to the outer world for most parts of the year as desired by the residents.
Mr Tajik said the road would help bring tourists to the valley’s snow-clad peaks, lakes, green meadows, glaciated passes, Chiantar Glacier and wildlife.
“Tourism promotion will increase economic activity and thus, providing additional sources of income to the locals from working with tourists as porters and guides to opening guesthouses to selling local products.
The former nazim said Baroghil valley bordered Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, so the all-weather road would ensure cross-border trade as and when required by the government.
He said the road initiative would broaden the base of livelihood fast by promoting agricultural and cattle farming.
“Currently, cattle’s farming is the only source of sustenance for the people, who raise yaks and goats for hard cash. Their agricultural activities are limited due to the extreme weather conditions,” he said.
Mr Tajik said recently, a local rural development programme showed the passive solar greenhouses as possibility in the area.
He said the all-weather road would help develop the agriculture sector making the residents switch over to the farming due to an easy access to the market to sell produce.
Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2021