Aziz Ullah Baig
Chitral, May 26: A peaceful protest was organized by the community of Parwak bala, center and payeen in Mastuj union council of Chitral district today. The protest was against the district administration, especially the public health and engineering department (PHED). The locals were demanding provisions of clean drinking water.
Hundreds of men, women and students from the community attended the protest. Speakers expressed their anger against the department for their inefficient monitoring of the physical progress on the drinking water scheme with a huge budget of 31.3 million rupees that was supposed to be completed in June 2013. They expressed that despite recording their concerns to PHED officials time and again, the officials, especially XEN and sub Engineer are not taking any interest in the project.
They accused contractor Mehboob Azam of using substandard materials and not executing the project according to the standards, leading the project into failure, even before the project has completed.
Representing women at the occasion, Ms, Sara, a community activist also expressed her feelings. She mentioned that by delaying the completion of the project, PHED officials and contractor are risking the lives of people especially children who are forced to drink unsafe water from sources shared by both humans and animals. She challenged that if government would have given the funds to community instead of contractors, the project would have completed not only within the desired time but also more efficiently. She said the corrupt PHED officials and Contractor have jeopardized the project for their vested interests.
Famous public speaker and activist from the area Woor Mohammed Khan also addressed the gathering and warned the civil administration to solve the issue otherwise the community will be forced to extend their peaceful protest to main Chitral.
The organizers issued a 24 hours ultimatum to the local administration to launch an FIR against contractor for noncompliance and initiate immediate inquiry against the corruption and ensure swift progress on the project, otherwise the community will start a hunger strike from 10th of June and if the issue persists, then they will sitin (dharna) on shandur road from 20th June blocking the access to Shandur Festival until the issue is resolved.