Lake affected people demand Gojal – Gilgit NATCO transportation service

By Ali Sarwar

Gulmit, September 25: As if sufferings inflicted by the natural disasters of landslide and damming of Hunza River were not enough of pain already, the transporters and boat operators are proving to be a human disaster, committing economic slaughter of the people of Gojal Valley.

According to statistic, gathered by a group of young volunteers during the last month, on average at least 148 passengers travel out of Gojal every day using different means of transportation.

A passenger, who travels from Chipursan Valley, according to calculations, pays around 1250 rupees for a single one-side trip to Gilgit city. A breakup of the costs involved is being given for information of the readers.

Location Mode of Traveling Destination Fare
Chapurson Van/Jeep Sost 300
Sost Van/Jeep Hussaini 300
Hussaini Boat Attaabad 100
Attaabad Van/Jeep Aliabad 250
Aliabad Van Gilgit 300
Total 1250

Supposing that all 148 passengers are traveling from Chipursan we come to the fact that on a single day this tiny group of people cumulatively pays around 185,000 rupees for a one-side trip to Gilgit, and 370,000 rupees for a round-trip.

Similar calculations done for other villages, like Shimshal, Passu, Moorkhoon, Khyber and Gulmit reveal that everyday hundreds of thousands of rupees are being paid to transporters by the disaster hit people of Gojal Valley.

It is pertinent to note that these are ‘normal’ fares and do not include special renting of vehicles in emergency times. The cost of inter-village movement has not been considered. Also, the number of non-local travelers has not been calculated for this study. The boat service is supposed to be free of charge but they are charging 100 rupees per passenger.

The Northern Areas Transport Corporation (NATCO) can reduce sufferings of the people by introducing a subsidized transportation system for the affected people from Sost to Hussaini and Attabad Lake barrier to Gilgit. This would save the disaster affected people from the profiteering transporters’ mafia.

A delegation of Gojali people has been formed by the communities to discuss the matter with Chief Secretary Gilgit – Baltistan and NATCO management. The affectees have hoped that their difficulties will be removed by introduction of subsidized NATCO transport service. 

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  1. Thanks, Sarwar for your valuable statistics. These problems should have been highlighted since the start of the disaster because till now millions of rupees have been paid to the opportunist transporters who do not care for the sufferings of the people.

    I can understand that nobody talks of these real problems and everyone is busy with political point scoring. The voices raised for the so called rights of the people are actually pressurizing for personal gains. There are informations of people having filed fales claimed of losses with the help of the corrupt Patwari and Tehsildars. This has never been the characteristics of Pamiri Islamilis who have alway been descent and honest at all times.

    The people of Gojal should meet the Chief Secretary, Gilgit Baltistan for transport service by NATCO and also the local administration to monitor the extra charges being charged by the transporters.

    The real issues of the people should be addressed on priority basis.

  2. First of all thanks to Ali Sarwar for providing facts and figures about one of the suffering of the people of Gojal. It is be noted that this is a single aspect of our suffering and to be realistic it is much more than that.
    To be clear if this situation would had been in Chilas or Skardu NATCO might have been provided transport facility in no time and currently they provide such facilities in GB as they call it Non-Profitable Routes.The reason why this facility has not been provided to the people of Gojal is that they have not demanded it,they are silent on this topic,they avoid protests for their rights.
    Remember this suffering will multiply in the months ahead till Gojal is destroyed completely economically,socially and geographically and that is the mission as we know.

    Sher Khan

  3. Mr Ali Sarwar thank you for collecting and sharing facts about a real problem, I am really impressed with your write up as contrary to usual style of giving long winding comments / opinions you have relied upon figures to high light the problem. I hope other’s will also follow your lead and provide the facts not opinions when describing any problem.

    May I request if possible for you to prepare a modified version of this table and provide additional information :

    1 – Location [ provided ]
    2 – Mode of Travel [ provided ]
    3 – Destination [ provided ]
    4 – Fare [ provided ]
    5 – Distance [ New ]
    6 – Fare in 2009 [ New ]
    7 – Regulated Fare [ New ]

    Allow me to explain what new pieces of information are:

    Distance : This is very important as it helps a person not at location to visualize what distance is being covered. Just to give example in Karachi a 25Km distance [ or maximum for that particular route which at times could be 35Km ] Public Transport fare is Rs 14.00, 16.00 or 18.00 depending upon type of vehicle Bus / Mini Bus / Coach. Coach is most expensive yet most fast hence additional fare.

    To have comparison how much extra people in Gojal have to pay, it is essential that actual distances are mentioned.

    Fare in 2009 : We are talking about additional hardship after the formation of lake, now what was the situation before that.

    Regulated Fare: This is the Fare which District Transport Authority notifies and are maximum charge able fare for public transport plying upon Highway, mettled road and un-mettled roads. There is special rate for hill area, please try to find this.

    You have to find this and this will be a conclusive proof of District administration’s failure. Once this information is made public then I am sure people can raise voice and ask for specific explanation from their representatives which in turn will help putting to task the people in-charge of over sight.

    Please try and give if possible general prices for the vehicle being used for transportation. If I am correct prices of a Van / Jeep are almost half or even less then what they are in Karachi. What it means the person plying the Van / Jeep has to invest less money. This factor alone will take care of any additional costs for parts / maintainance.

    BTW if you find difficulty in finding exact distance you can use Google Map or Way Faring map to measure the distance, it will be 99.999% accurate.


  4. The question is why Mr. Zaffer Iqbal, MD NATCO and prominent political figure of Gojal is still reluctant to provide service for his own people. Unfortunately this person is the big adviser of our political representatives of Hunza and he is not even ready to project transport an issue and for him every thing is OK.

  5. thanks Really appreciative views and updates shared by Ali Sarwar saheb As the seniors and authorized peoples knows very well about this fact and problems facing by the people of Gojal its our request to MD NATCO Mr. Zafar Saheb for the same to please do a needful help for the effected areas of gojal regarding transportation……………..

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