ISLAMABAD: The bridge linking Kosht with other parts of upper Chitral that collapsed on May 23 this year killing three people could not be rebuilt even after assurances made by government departments.
As a result, thousands of people in the isolated valley of Kosht, including schoolchildren, are facing hardship as they have no other option but to take a long detour via a mountain to reach Booni and other areas on foot, said Muhammad Younus, who is the chairman of the Awami Action Committee, Kosht.
Contractor Fida Hussain, Vor Muhammad (driver), residents of Zait, and former UC Kosht nazim Bulbul Khan were putting soil on the bridge to fill the cracks on its wooden plunks when it collapsed killing all of them on May 23, 2016.
The old bridge at the site was washed away in the 2015 flood cutting off links to the Mulkhow valley from the rest of the area. Later, the army built a makeshift bridge which developed cracks after its wooden plunks got damaged.
Soon after the collapse of the makeshift bridge the area people blocked the Chitral-Mastuj road at Khandan near Booni against the government’s apathy to rebuild the bridge which led to the loss of three lives. But the local administration made a hollow promise and asked the protesters to disperse.
A few days later the deputy commissioner Chitral booked scores of people from the area under 16 MPO for allegedly inciting the masses and creating law and order situation. Some of them were sent to Bannu and Chitral jails. However, later they obtained bail from the court of law.
As the public anger and protest died down, the government put the reconstruction of the bridge into the back burner till the last week of Ramazan when the DC met a delegation from Kosht, including the elected nazims and councilors, and announced Rs9.5 million from the CDLD project to rebuild the bridge and carry out other reconstruction work in the area. A team of the CDLC was also present during the meeting, said Mr Younus.
But after assuring the delegation, Mr Younus added, the DC again started delaying tactics and did not issue the work permit to the contractor and nor released the amount.
On repeated demand by the residents, the DC office came up with the excuse that the KP government has now sanctioned the construction of the bridge under its annual development programme (ADP). However, looking at the already stalled ADP projects of the KP government including the Booni RCC bridge it can safely be said that the Kosht bridge would not be completed even after 10 years he added
He warned that if work on the bridge was not started within a week the people of Kosht would be left with no other option but to launch a protest move against the government.