By Alhaj Muhammad Khan
Parsan is a beautiful valley of tehsil Garam Chashma with a population of 350 households. It is about 45 kilometers away from the Chitral town. But this scenic area has been withering away due to water logging for many years. The unusual change in the climate has increased the melting of glaciers in the region multiplying the rippling of the whole valley.
The AKDN after assessing the dwindling situation of the valley tasked to Focus Humanitarian Assistance Program, Pakistan to conduct research in 2005 on how to protect the valley and mitigate the emerging problems to the people from water logging. This research reportedly was conducted by the researchers and students of Geology department of Punjab University.
It’s pertinent to mention that this research report neither was shared with community nor preventive measures were taken in the valley to protect the houses, forests and lands under cultivation from destruction of waterlogging and developing of salinity.
The people of the area reportedly forwarded their request to the district government and other non-governmental organizations many times by every passing year to take preventive measures to protect the lands, forests and houses of the poor people in the valley but no mitigationary measures were put in place to tackle with. It is also important to mention that the 350 households of the area is under the verge of precipice, only the fifty houses may be safe from destruction for few years but the rest of the houses including cultivated lands, forests and are going to disappear every passing day. The poor people of the area who only rely on farming of crops for food and forests for fuel are looking the life in the valley gloomy to live and haplessly looking their whereabouts and possessions vanishing day by day from water logging.
Those people who earn handsome money and do jobs in Chitral town and other parts of the country have either migrated with their families into the Chitral town temporarily or purchased a piece of land for a safe life. The only poor and needy segment of the valley is living there helplessly for many years without any support of government and social welfare organization in the country.
The situation in the valley in the coming few years might turn from bad to worse and the only remaining cultivable farms will disappear and the remaining forests which were also helpful to mitigate the water logging to some extent shall also vanish. It is a time for the government to awake from deep slumber and the non-governmental organization claiming for social welfare to take immediate action to protect the poor and helpless people’s farm lands, forests and houses from ceasing to exist.
The possible measures can be taken by government with the support of International agencies and donors’ to divert the water of ‘Ochor’- which after flowing about one kilometer absorbs into the soil and forms three artificial lakes. By constructing a big canal or draining this water by a pipeline about four kilometers into a safe place of ‘Tang’ possibly be a good preventive measures against water logging and salinity in the area but it needs of launching a mega project to deal with. By draining this water into Tang the three artificial lakes might dried out which causes water logging and salinity in the area.
To regenerate life in people, lands and plants in Parsan valley for long term depends in dealing with water logging and salinity sooner than later.
The writer is a teacher and free-lance journalist based in Chitral.