UPPER CHITRAL: Residents of Deewan Goal to Kox villages at Brep Valley in upper Chitral are facing great hardships due to no jeepable bridge on Yarkhun River. Hundreds of students, ailing persons, and patients are bound to cross a dangerous wooden temporary bridge on Yarkhun rive at Deewangoal village but it also washes away by the river when the water surface is raised. Construction of a jeepable bridge was started at River in Deewangoal village last year, but due to lack of funds, the work was suspended and the bridge was left incomplete. According to details, a suspension wooden bridge was built across the river near Brep for the villages of Dewan Gol and Kozh, etc. in 1994, but the bridge is now in a very dilapidated condition due to its old age. Karam Ali Saadi, a social worker in this area worked hard day and night for approval of an iron bridge over the Yarkhun River near Diwan Goal to Kox villages situated across the river, which consist of two thousand people. It was approved by the then Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan. The services of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s former special assistant to CM for Minority Affairs, Wazir Zada Kalash, are also valuable. This bridge was constructed under the supervision of Rural Development Department (RDD).
In September 2022 When former Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan visited Brep valley when it was hit by tremendous flood a resolution was presented to him demanding for the construction of a bridge over the river near Dewan Gol. Karam Ali while explaining the details to our correspondent on phone. Saadi said that this bridge was not included in any scheme for ten months, but after much struggle, it got NOC and a fund of Rs. 26 million was approved for it. The work on this bridge was started on May 12, 2022, but due to lack of funds, the work on it was stopped on July 5, 2022. Due to the lack alternate route or any other jeepable bridge , the people of these villages from Dewan Gol to Kozh have built a temporary wooden bridge over the river, which is destroyed due to the high water level in summer, and the people here have to walk by feet six kilometers away. to cross an old swing wooden bridge to reach Brep. But this route is very dangerous because it passes through the foothills where heavy rocks and land sliding are always falling. Karam Ali Saadi said that a few years ago, a student of 9th Class Suraya Bib was died on the same road when she was going to school and a heavy stone fell on her head from the mountain. Suraya Bibi was the only daughter of her parents. Apart from this many other people have been hurt because of this.
Because there is frequent flooding in Breep due to avalanches and GLOF events, due to which road of Yarkhun and Brughal Valleys are also blocking and people strain for days if a bridge is built on river for Dewan Gol and Kozh on the other side of the river and if road is constructed to the villages, it will also be an alternative road as a bypass for these valleys. The people of the area are very disappointed about the suspending of the construction work of this bridge. In this regard, our representative contacted Misbahuddin, Assistant Director of RDD Department and asked the reason, he said that Rs. 26 Million had been approved for this purpose but fund was not released timely. The fund was closed while the contractor has done much more than this fund. Our team traveled for nine hours continuously to reach this backward valley which is the first team of any media in this area.
Aliya Nawaz is a student of 9th class who walks on this dangerous bridge to go to school by crossing Yarkhun River every day. She said that my school is across the river while my house is situated on other side of the river. I walk on the wooden bridge, but the water of the river is very fast and when we see the river below, our head is in danger of falling into the river. Alia Nawaz says that when the water level in the river is high. In summer it washes away the temporary bridge and then we walk six kilometers away and cross another swing (suspension) bridge built for pedestrians to go to school in Brep.
Sarisha Mirza is also a second year student who goes to higher secondary school Brep by crossing the same dangerous bridge. Girls students who are much younger than us go to school by walking on this bridge which can fall into the river from the source at any time. She said that in summer, when the water level is high, this temporary bridge also wash away, then we walk risky was beneath outskirt of the mountain and cross a wooden swing bridge far away.
Amrina Inayat who is a first year student said that we go to school and college every day and we have to cross the river by crossing the bridge. Women and students have to face a lot of difficulties. In summer, when the water surface is raise , then this temporary bridge is also removed and we go by another route, which is long and also very dangerous. She said that one of our relative was passing that dangerous road and was seriously injured by a stone on his head. She said that when women fall ill here, people put them on cots and carry them on their shoulders and walk six kilometers by feet to bring them to the hospital. Besides this, our people carry everyday items on shoulders and carry them on foot
These students demanded from the provincial government that the bridge which was left incomplete should be completed immediately by providing funds so that our difficulties can be reduced.