Gilgit, September 15: Hundreds of children, women and men commuting to and from Gojal valley are suffering at the hands of boat operators and jeep drivers. The drivers and operators are acting like a mafia, charging commuters unreasonably high prices.
For a distance of less than 2 kilometers the jeep drivers charge rupees 800, while the fare for an individual from Islamabad to Gilgit is around 1500 rupees, for a distance of over 400 miles. Drivers are charging rupees 120 from Aliabad to the blockade site, a distance of less than 20 kilometers. The same van operators charge less than 100 rupees per passenger from Gilgit to Aliabad, over 90 kilometers apart.
The boat operators, though legally bound to transport passengers free of charge, have also been accused of swindling them.
Apparent silence of district administration and other concerned authorities has been deplored by the commuters who have accused officials of taking bribes from the boat operators to allow them fleece the choice-less commuters.
Absence of a transparent fare system is causing the transport mafia to accumulate wealth at the expense of stranded and choice-less people who travel into or out of Gojal Valley.
The concerned authorities need to regulate the prices and reign in the transporters who are cashing on misery of the disaster affected communities.
Images: Zulfiqar Ali Khan