Gulmit, September 9: A huge raft,driven by a diesel engine, has been launched in the dammed Hunza River to transport goods and people over the 22 kilometer long lake formed as a result of January 4 slope failure at Attabad, Hunza.
The raft is capable of carrying 3 truck loads of goods in one go, according to sources.
“The raft reached Gulmit today”, a villager told Pamir Times.
“It creates hug waves while traveling in the river”, he further informed. He feared that the waves might pose risk for the smaller boats traveling in the lake.
“There are a couple of soldiers here who call themselves rescuers”, another villager complained. “But they are neither equipped nor acclimatized to the chilly cold glacial water of Hunza”, he further said.
An old man recounted his memories of a similar raft service started in the mid 70s after a massive flood at Shishkat had blocked the Hunza River passage and converted it into a lake.
“One day the raft was carrying a truck and other goods and broke down in middle of the river”, he said. “Several people were on board the raft and one of them could never be found but many were saved by the Chinese and Pakistani operators and workers”, he remembered. “I don’t know if the current rescuers will prove to be effective in a similar unfortunate situation”, he worryingly said.
The local people have, reacting cautiously to the development, demanded of the government to immediately start expansion and deepening of the spillway, as decided during a high level meeting held at the presidency in Islamabad.
“The raft will help transportation of goods but there is no alternative to restoration of the road links”, a member of the Gulmit Village Organization said.