By: Zulfiqar Ali Khan
Hunza, August 28: The Collapse of the main bridge on KKH, connecting Hunza, Nagar and other areas with Gilgit town, has resulted in sharp decrease in potato price and increase in the side-income of local police.
According to reports, the price of potato has been reduced drastically from Rs. 2000 per bag to Rs. 1400 per bag after this incidence, on wake of the price hike for all life sustaining goods in the country. This is creating great concerns in the region, as potato is the main source of income for the local farming community.
The potato contractors, political activists and representatives of farmers of Hunza and Nagar valley have held an urgent meeting in Aliabd Hunza and condemned the harsh behaviour of the police with the truck drivers and labours at Konadas and Nomal bridges. They blamed police for allowing heavy trucks carrying Chinese exports goods while illegally charging huge money. They said that heavy trucks carrying wheat of civil supply and oil tankers are also allowed to cross the bridge. This is also causing damages to the already poor wooden bridges. The contractors have also stopped purchasing potato due to shortage of trucks and high transportation costs.
According to potato contractors, the cost of transportation before the collapse of the bridge was Rs 180 per bag from Aliaabd, Hunza to Rawalpindi which increased to Rs 410 per bag. An additional Rs 60 per bag is paid for the loading and unloading of potato at both sides of the wooden bridges.
After the collapse of the main bridge, the traffic was diverted to Gilgit through the bridge constructed by Chinese firm to carry the heavy machinery of Naltar Power house. The wooden bridge that connects Konadas with Gilgit are also in poor condition. In case of the collapse of these wooden bridges, there is no alternative way to supply goods of daily life to Hunza, Nagar and other parts of Gilgit.
The local representatives have threatened the Northern Areas Administration to stage protests and convene long march from Hunza-Nagar to Gilgit, if alternative arrangement has been not made to avoid huge loss to the local farming community.