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Chitral lacks bulldozers to clear roads

CHITRAL, Feb 12: Most roads in Chitral remain blocked throughout winter due to heavy snowfall and landslides as the district administration is short of heavy machinery to reopen these roads.

Most roads are maintained by the communication and works (C&W) department which has failed to start rehabilitation work due to the paucity of funds as the provincial government has not released a penny for maintenance work for the year, a contractor of the department said.

Requesting not to be named, the contractor said the department was already indebted to the contractors to the tune of millions of rupees who carried out rehabilitation work of different roads last year.

He said the district had the largest area of 15,000 square kilometers divided into 36 segregated valleys vulnerable to natural hazards but the annual allocation for maintenance and rehabilitation work was not made commensurate with area needs.

The contractor said the residents of distant valleys suffered hardships in winter due to blockade of roads due to landslides and snow.

“Eight tractors provided by the provincial government recently are incapable of clearing huge snow avalanches and boulders blocking the roads,” he said.

He said only bulldozers with chain wheels can serve the purpose of clearing the avalanches, debris and boulders from roads, he said.