Sost, December 18: According to newspaper reports the GB administration is planning to impose a ban on the boat service in dammed Hunza River. The ban, reportedly, is being imposed to safeguard the lives of the commuters, as the dammed river starts freezing due to severe temperature drop in the entire region.
The ban imposed by Hunza -Nagar district administration earlier this month was not effective because the people have no other mode of travelling in and out of the valley.
“Majority of the people travel outside Gojal Valley because of health related problems”, Karim Ali, working with a local NGO told this scribe. “If health facilities are made available to the people here in the valley, there will be a marked decrease in the number of commuters”, he further suggested.
Other people gathered at a market in the border town of Sost said that health is one of the issues. “There are families living in Gilgit and other areas of Pakistan. Why shall we be forced to stay in the valley”, one of them questioned angrily, demanding better transportation facilities from the government.
“It is really easy to ban a service but very difficult to provide better and safer facilities and the ‘efficient’ officers are taking the easier way out”, another man quipped, criticizing the ban plan.
“It is not that the weather is bad everyday. The boats can be operated on and off, depending on the weather situation”, another man suggested.
While appreciating the administration’s concerns for the life and safety of the boat commuters, one must say that putting a complete ban on the boat service will literally isolate a population of above twenty thousand people from rest of the country, making them vulnerable to different risk and hazards.
The government needs to come up with a plan that includes provision of alternate means of transportation for the disaster struck communities.