CHITRAL: The residents of Chitral have demanded of the provincial government to immediately start work on the proposed project of constructing bulwarks against the floods to protect the vulnerable villages from inundation. They regretted that the departments concerned often executed the projects in the months of May and June when water level in rivers and streams rose significantly, thus failing to serve the purpose of protecting villages from flood devastation.

They said that various government departments, including irrigation, communication and works, tehsil municipal administrations and local government constructed the embankments.

Former tehsil nazim Sartaj Ahmed Khan said that the ideal time for raising the bulwarks was from the month of November to March as water level in the rivers plunged to the lowest possible level during this period.

He said that swollen rivers inundated the low-lying villages every summer, washing away agricultural lands, roads and suspension bridges.

Mr Ahmed said that departments concerned approved tens of projects of building protection walls every year, but they were often executed in the months of May and June when the water level tended to rise significantly making it difficult to complete the projects as per the specifications.

The former tehsil nazim said that the main Chitral-Booni Road could not be saved from flood damage despite millions of rupees were spent to stop landslides in the Reshun village of Upper Chitral district two years ago. He said the reason was that work on the embankments started in June.

The former nazim regretted that due to the failure of the bulwark project, not only the road eroded into the river but more than 14 families were also rendered homeless as they lost their houses.

He urged the planning and development department to release the funds for the proposed project as early as possible so that work on the protection walls could be started during the current month. He said that delayed release of funds was the major reason behind the inordinate delay in commencement of work on bulwarks.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2024

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