by Arshad Ali Sakhi
Passu, October 10: Thousands of trees have been crushed by earth removing machines as part of the expansion work of the Karakuram Highway, in Passu village of Gojal Valley. Considerable damage has also been caused to the existing road by the heavy machinery being used, affecting the flow of traffic. Animal sheds, orchards and boundary walls have also been demolished, leaving the local community confused, irritated and apprehensive.
The confusion increases manifolds in the absence of any representative of the Tehsil administration, at least, at the work site. People had high hopes that the property damaged will be compensated, systematically, but in the present scenario such hopes have vanished, infuriating the local communities.
The expansion and up gradation of 335km of road from Khunzhrav to Raikot is in full swing in Hunza Valley. This project, according to plans, will be completed by 2011. The project will widening of the road, construction of snow galleries, renovation of 27 bridges, besides adding 480m long tunnels to the existing structure. 18 open cut tunnels (1,975 m) are also to be constructed along with 1,050 culverts and 5 aqueducts.
The local political leaders, including the two members of Northern Areas Legislative Assembly and member of the district council, are not bothered by the hues and cries of the local population.
The communities have demanded that the government shall promptly take action in this regard and record all the damages being caused to private properties of the citizens. Without taking such measures the government will be compromising with the interests of the indigenous people of the valley, making life difficult for them.