Mehmood Ul Hassan Firdousi (Bakarabad Chitral)
Always full of the spirit of volunteerism, people of Mastuj in Upper Chitral took a very important initiative last week when they started rehabilitating a portion of the dilapidated Booni-Mastuj road on a self-help basis.
The reconstruction of the 30 km portion of the road from Krui Deri upward has been started by the locals under the supervision of retired Professor Dr Ismail Wali.
Dr Wali served in the Higher Education Department in different capacities besides working in other educational institutes, including Imsciences Peshawar.
This is a flagship project, comprising approximately 30 km long road, which connects Upper Chitral with Lower Chitral. Due to the poor condition of the road because of non-repair and lack of maintenance for decades, people of both the districts of Chitral have become fed up with repeated appeal to successive governments and their promises. The locals finally started repairing the road using their available resources.
On the first day of the self-help work, around 1,000 volunteers from the three villages of Upper Chitral – Mastuj, Chunij and Laspur – reached Krui Deri and started repairing the road.
This is a great initiative and people have paid applause and tributes to Prof Ismail Wali who encouraged the youth and volunteers to take part in the project.
The initiative shows a sense of responsibility, maturity and volunteerism among the people of Upper Chitral.
Instead of taking to the streets against the government for non-repair of the road, they preferred to construct the road without looking to the government.
Moreover, Chitralis living in different parts of the country and abroad have started donating for the construction of the road.
Those taking part in the repair work under Prof Wali have announced that they would also blacktop the road. It is estimated that about Rs1.4 million would be needed to black top the road.
Whether the government now moves to reconstruct the road or not, the people of Mastuj have set an example for others not to always look to the government of the day and collectively work to resolve many of their issues.