Hunza/Islamabad, February 16: Serious concerns have been raised about condition of the boats that NDMA has provided for transporting hundreds of stranded commuters of Gojal valley. “The boats are really old and rusty and there is always a fear of getting drowned in the lake”, said Mehboob Ali Khan of Gulmit – Gojal while talking to Pamir Times on phone. He also said that instead of giving priority to the stranded people VIPs are touring the lake without purpose.
Another stranded passenger, Zahir Shah from Gulmit – Gojal, told Pamir Times that many people had to return from the lake barrier yesterday because they were not transported. “We suffered the cold weather and were hungry but after hours of waiting we had to return”, he complained. The commuters have demanded establishment of a desk near the lake barrier to make the process of obtaining passes for travel convenient for the travelers.
Yaqub Ali from Passu – Gojal, who has recently traveled in one of the boats, told Pamir Times that his traveling experience was not comfortable. “Water splashed into the boat and our cloths got wet”, he said while pointing out lower heights of the boat. He also said that the boats are not appropriate for senior citizens, women and children. “The boats are not appropriate for harsh weather conditions”, he further said.
While provision of the boats to people of Gojal is an important step towards re-linking the valley to other parts of the country, it is equally vital that the facility becomes a source of comfort rather than causing more trouble.
Also see a related report on DAWN