Sat. May 8th, 2021

[Eidi for Gojal?] “Free boat service for victims discontinued”

by Shabbir Mir

GILGITThe government has withdrawn the free ferry facility that it had introduced for people affected by the landslide in Hunza and is now asking them to pay the fare set by traders, locals said on Thursday.

“We are being asked to pay for the trip from Hunza to Gulmit and back. But, if we refuse, we are banished from the boats,” said Mumtaz Ali, a resident of Hunza. He said that the withdrawal of the facility has left the residents of Hunza and Gojal feeling forgotten and neglected. “The land route [Karakoram Highway] is still blocked and we have no option but to go by boat,” he added.

In the wake of a landslide that struck Attabad early this year, a lake formed on the previously fast flowing Hunza River. The length of the lake has now gone beyond 23 kilometres upstream, submerging a large section of the Karakoram Highway. In view of the hardships being faced by the people in Hunza, the government had allowed private traders to operate boats across the lake with the government bearing the cost.

“We were unaware of this new development. Why did it happen so abruptly?” asked a resident of Gulmit, one of the five villages submerged by the lake. He said that the government had informed the people of Hunza that the free boat service would continue till the construction of the Karakoram Highway. Several attempts to contact officials in Hunza failed as their phones remained unattended.

Meanwhile the residents of Attabad have reminded the senior minister, Mohammad Jaffer, to honour his pledge and step down as he had failed to secure ‘sufficient’ compensation for the victims of the Attabad disaster despite the lapse of over two months.

In early July, hundreds of Attabad lake victims had called off their protest in Hunza after Mohammad Jaffer had assured them that he would use his influence over the government and get their compensation increased to the level of their satisfaction.

The government had offered Rs500,000 to each family that lost its land and home to the lake. The victims had however rejected the compensation terming the amount insignificant compared to losses incurred.

The families have now vowed to resume their protest soon after Eid.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2010.

5 thoughts on “[Eidi for Gojal?] “Free boat service for victims discontinued”

  1. SHAME WHAT I HAVE SEEN ON THE LAKE NEAR HUSSAINI VILLAGE ITS SCHOKING NOTHING IS RUNNING SMOOTH ALL OUR PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TREATING LIKE AMIMALS I HAVE SEEN IT FROM MY EYES. AND THE TRADERS ARE BIG MAFIA WHO ARE RIPPING OFF OUR POOR PEOPLE AND TOURIST WHO IS KEEPING EYE ON THESE MAFIA ?????? DO WE NEED THESE BOAT MAFIA IN OUR AREA ?? I THINK ITS TIME TO THINK DEEP AND SOLVE THIS ISSUE SOON . ARE WE UNITED ???? OPEN YOUR EYES YOUTH OF GOJAL

  2. I feel GB govt. and local administration should step in and take control of the situation.

    It is un-fair on the poor people.They need to be treated with dignity.

    State should at-least provide access.

    Winter is soon approaching. It will get wet and cold. There is need for food supplies.
    Our brothers and sisters in Gupis,Yasin,Ghizer need to get food and winter tents.Nearly all bridges have been washed away/damaged. Please look into this.

    Thank you

  3. its really heartbreaking one to listen about paying for boat, i am surprised and how if the oil provided by chineese goverment could be used for only boat travelers in this case the local travelers services can be utilized from each village . the local people should make a central representation from all village of gojal and handover these services to the local volunteers both from gojal 1 and gojal 2 ,it could be an option for anneat and clean boat operation and better services can be provided to the local gojalies.

  4. indeed it was a BIG BIG SHAME! i was there a week ago with my foreign friends, when we reached at the bank to get in to the boat, a guy asked for our names and a detail about my foreign friends, the guy asked for the ticket and they asked my friends to pay Rs 1000 each, i was really amazed of the situation and inquired why 1000? since the locals were asked for 100. they guy said they are foreigners, when i asked for reciept or Government rate, he said, its private and local govemnet has nothing to do with this, we have fuel shortage and thats why govermnet boats are grounded just because of non-availability of fuel. i believed as most of the time, in our country government people take advantage of such situations and sell things in black to make money 🙂 this was the reason, i argued and finally the guy agreed to pay him 500 for my foreign friend.
    it was again the same on the way back !
    i believe the local government has put the trouble in the hands of traders and private boats that sucking the blood of the affectees.
    i regret to say that i was ashamed of the situation when the people asked for more money ,between the blocks and lake. they really have VERY Bad IMPRESSION ABOUT THE SERVICES AND LOCAL GOVERENMENT!
    i would appreciate if the goverment make more proper way to transport people between hunza and Hussaini.

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