By Farman Karim Baig
Gilgit, October 15: Assistant director of the National Highways Authority, Mohsin Islam Khan, along with a representative of the “Northern Areas Environmental Protection Agency” (NAEPA) visited Passu – Gojal to listen to complaints, demands and grievances of the people affected by ongoing work on expansion of the Karakuram Highway. The meeting was attended by people from Shishkat, Gulmit, Ghulkin, Hussaini and Passu. Mr Mutabiat Shah represented the affected people.
The assistant director was informed about the damage done to land and other properties of the people. The people also expressed anger and dissatisfaction over the delay in fixing of compensation for loss of property. The assistant director blamed the local administration for not being able to fix a price. He said that compensation payments would start when the land price is fixed.
People also expressed concern over the deteriorating condition of environment of Gojal valley. Gojal, counting for more than 85 % of Hunza’s land, is the worst affected part of Gilgit – Baltistan by the KKH expansion project likely to be completed by 2012. Representative of NAEPA said that their organization would launch a plantation drive on both sides of the border to not only increase beauty of the region but also help reduction of the hazardous gases coming out of heavy vehicles.
Mutabiat Shah, on behalf of the affected people, thanked representatives of NAEPA and NHA for listening to complaints of the people and expressed hope that rights of the common people would be protected while determining the land price. He also presented demanded of the KKH expansion victims for payment of compensation on urgent basis.