HomeLettersQaqlasht housing scheme, an environment disaster


Qaqlasht housing scheme, an environment disaster — 8 Comments

  1. Dear Sir,
    In my opinion Qaqlasht Housing scheme is a blessing for the whole district, as this is one of the safest area from river cutting, flood and land slides, so very reasonable for housing purpose.

    So far locals only benefit from this this area by grazing live stock and getting some kind of grass (ThesPook) for fueling which is a very poor source of fuel as compared with the labour involved.

    As far as public parks are concerned, tourism and outing will increase more with this project as there will be numerous facilities available throughout the year instead of few weeks of April.

    Since this is one of the mega projects of the Govt, so apart from clean, planned and modern living conditions this project will bring billion of rupees to this poor district with definitely is going to put a positive impact on the entire economy of the district and particularly upper Chitral.

    So politicizing this scheme is not in the favour of Chitral, and we all must contribute to make this wonderful project get completed and successful.

  2. The learned writer above commented on only the likely benefits or pros of the project and intentionally or otherwise didn’t mention its demerits. The total population of Kosht, Morder, Muzhgo and the surrounding villages is approx. 3000 households, if you take 3 persons per household as an average that becomes 10,000 people. How many jobs do you think this project is going to bring? How many locals are going to get employment in there? As I said earlier, how many of these people would benefit from the Billions of rupees you are talking about here? This project is like cutting down dense jungle trees and building cities- at the cost of loss of so many living creatures, apart from destroying the environment. The govt. should not give me fish, it should tell how to fish!

    No doubt this is a government owned land so are the river beds used for duck hunting everywhere, have you ever heard of an outsider coming and using these river beds for hunting other than the locals? So why Qaqlasht should be open to all? won’t it be unjustified to the people living in the surrounding villages?

  3. This project is lifeline for people of upper chitral in the current circumstances. We should understand that this is a bilion rupees projectand it is the investment which we have always been shouting for. Just imagine how many jobs would be created and how many educated engineers/managers will be employed along with labor. Why we forget that our brothers spent months in other places of pakistan on meagre wages and difficult working conditions. Apart from that why we are so wary of the the fact that people from other areas will be coming there, are we afraid of change which has already taken place with the mobile phones and other things.
    The government has already announced that it will take care of he locals and there will be areas reserved for people affected by floods and ther calamities. Therefore i would not agree with people who come across and say that this was there property will affect the social fabric of society. I say that this is an empty and dry barren land and which was never utilized by the government and with is project apart from housing scheme there will be unversities play grounds and other government facilities.

  4. After going through the letter penned down by respected Dr. Sahib and the comments followed by, I feel compelled to speak my mind out here as one of the “Party” to it as I come from a village which has remained a beneficiary of this land called Qaqlasht till date. I was in Morder when the disaster came, thus have seen the devastations from my own eyes. There is not second opinion on the fact that (with specific reference to Kosht, Muzhgol, and Saht) wherever it came, it destroyed everything-be it houses, crops, plantation, or barren land. These people need relocation and Qaqlasht is supposedly the best place for that. News has it that the provincial govt. has agreed to allow the affectees to get settled down at Qaqlasht, which is indeed a kind gesture from the state (although it is their responsibility and duty as well), and would go a long way in minimising the adverse impacts of the disaster.

    The other side of the story is that the KPK govt. still plans to build a housing scheme at Qaqlasht. I am not going into depths discussing the overall pros and cons of this proposed project however a few things worry me and I wanted to share those with you all here;

    1. What would be the exact location of this housing scheme-the plane lands spread across the plateau or the whole of it?’ If the plane lands are taken, would there be any compensation given to the locals who have remained beneficiaries of the land since centuries?; if not, will the govt. still want to build it against the wishes of the locals?

    2. After all if the KPK govt. decides to go ahead with the project, how its going to ensure that only the locals can benefit from it? will that be a question worth answering or will that be ignored and it will be kept opened for all Chitralies? Or for that matter for everyone who is a citizen of Pakistan?

    3. We all know that people in Chitral don’t have the purchasing power and we also know that the govt won’t distribute the plots for free, in which case only the ones who can afford to buy it; will build their houses-whereas if you look at the history Qaqlasht is utilised by all and sundry without any difference. How the govt. is going to ensure equal distribution of the land? Will it be possible for them to do it, if not; then what?

    4. If we look at various housing schemes such as DHAs, HayatAbad, Tech Society, Wapda colonies etc. these are open to all. The only criterion is the affordability of the purchaser. If the KPK govt. decides to keep it open for all, more than 70% of the land will be taken by non Chitral residents such as Pakhtuns, Punjabis and people from other areas who have a keen business acumen and the required purchasing power also. If that happens, the govt will have to face stiff resistance from the locals as nobody wants an outsider amongst them. This has nothing to do with bias or racism; rathe it is because of the peculiar culture of Chitral which is altogether different from others.

    In my humble opinion the govt. may not be able to ensure equal distribution of the land amongst the locals thus widening the gap between the haves and have nots. Wouldn’t it be better to drop the project instead and think of something better than that such as allowing the locals to occupy those areas of Qaqlasht which lay in their jurisdiction that was being utilised by their ancestors for centuries. Why to disturb the peace and social fabric of Chitral if you can’t help it progress?

    Thank you,
    Saifuddin Saif.

  5. Fully agreed with doctor sab. if this housing project is launched by the kp govt it is going not to benefit any poor chitrali. if the govt is sincere it should help the people reconstruct their houses damaged in the recent floods. besides being rich man’s project, housing project in Qaqlasht will destroy our local cultures as people from other districts and provinces will settle in the area and destroy our culture and traditions. so say no to this project aimed to occupy the land by flimsy promises.

    Muhammad Khan

  6. Dr.sahib is thinking more in the context of past rather the exigencies of the present.Qaqlasht is no more the grazing land of the people living around but very few people still have livesotck farming as a source of income.

  7. For Housing Purpose the Qaqlasht scheme is reasonable project and safe place to shift all flood effecties there. Here is no any other reasonable area or place to shift the effected peoples permenantly & properly.

  8. Hundreds of people have lost homes, properties worth millions and become homeless and according to the MET predictions this will cintunue for another 10 years. This project has become inevitable for people of upper chitral and to replace this project with controlling Chitral river is makes.no sense. First it is very difficult to do that and secondly the river is the catchment area for the floods and glacier outbursts. Kaqlasht is the only safe place left for housing people and with population rising the demand will increase. I remember in an earlier article, Dr Khans had suggested to construct an airport at kaqlasht but now he is suggesting otherwise.