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|
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.