By Najeeb Ullah
Gilgit, the capital city of Gilgit-Baltistan, is becoming a town of the 19 60s, as the citizens are deprived of light and have started using traditional lamps (chimney) lanterns and chiraghs used in the olden days. The hussle- bustle of the city has waned and there is no traffic on the roads. The civic life and business has come to a standstill.Flood flashes have destroyed the infrastructure
Landslides and rain-triggered floods have destroyed transportation network in Gilgit-Baltistan, cutting off the city and entire region from the rest of country. The Karakorum Highway (KKH) which is the only road link between Gilgit and rest of the country has now been closed for three weeks. Several important
bridges have been destroyed which has caused severe problems for communication and transportation in the city and adjoining areas.
The city has been experiencing a blackout for the whole month of August . The power stations located at Kargah, Naltar, Jaglot Goor and Danyor have been completely or partially destroyed due to landslides and floods. People face a lot of problem for iftar and sehari as they practice fasting in this sacred month of Ramadan. The pipe lines and water channels carrying water to houses have been destroyed by either landslides or floods at various locations. As a result, people are getting water on their back from the Gilgit River or nearby torrents which can cause severe health hazards in the future.
As there is no diesel or petrol available in the city, hardly any vehicles is seen on the roads and people are back to walking. The all time open and crowded markets resemble a ghost town. In the absence of electricity, kerosene oil and gas cylinders people are using wood to cook meals.
Now and then the government agencies seem to have failed to provide the much needed support and relief to calm the sufferings of the public. Those in the corridor of power seem to be lacking resources and insight to tackle the issue wisely. The blockage of the Karakoram Highway has caused the lack of exchange and sharing of information and news . Newspapers are not reaching the area ,the Media personnel cannot go to the affected areas either. Also there is lack of coordination between the various Government agencies to share information regarding the circumstances.
There is no information yet on when the water supply would be restored to Gilgit (while authorities had said that would be from Monday) , which has not been started yet. Even each area could not get at least one hour of electricity as the authorities had claimed a week ago.