UPPER CHITRAL, (MANEND NEWS): Hundreds of people of District Upper Chitral of Brep valley held a protest rally for the second time this week in favor of their demands. The meeting was presided over by the former councilor Shelly Sultan, while Nazim Ahmed Khan of Village Council Kozh was the guest of honor on this occasion. During the protest there was a complete shutter down strike in Brep Bazaar, while the main road of Yarkhun Valley and Brughal was also blocked for several hours. Addressing the meeting, the speakers said that on August 19, 2022, GLOF event occurred as a glacier located in the hill above Brep Valley burst, as a result of which a disastrous flood started. Some 60 houses were completely damaged while hundreds of acres of apple and other fruit orchards, standing crops, cultivated land were also destroyed and many people were homeless. As a result of the flood, the only utility store, a mosque and three congregation halls (Jamat Khana) were also washed away. While many people’s shops, women’s shopping center and girls’ high school and other government and non-government buildings were damaged.
Speakers said that after flood, former Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mehmood Khan visited the area and announced Rs 500 Million for the affected areas, including Rs 250 Million for Upper Chitral and Rs 25 M for Lower Chitral. They said that we kept waiting for this announcement, but they followed their leader and once again took the Utern and that money has not arrived yet. They said that Regional Program Manager of Aga Khan Agency for Habitat i.e. AKAH Ameer Muhammad and his team also visited this area. Amir Muhammad said that these icebergs, i.e. glaciers, have a special type of fruiting plant that prevents the glacier from melting, but when the goats eat grass during grazing there, they eat the same species (plant) as a result the glaciers melts which causing for devastated flash flood. They said that Mr Amir Muhammad assured the people that if he decides to sell their goats and livestock, his organization (AKAH) will build a protective wall for them in Chikan Gol Nala, which will keep the area safe. We sold our goats and other animals on half price and faced huge losses. But very sorry to say that after nine months Amir Muhammad came and said that in the year 2023, the protection wall of the Chikan Gol canal is not included in our scheme.
Speakers said that the second time AKAH Regional Program Manager Ameer Muhammad visited the flooded area with Canadian embassy delegates and officials , the Canadian diplomat sat on the ground instead of a sofa in solidarity with the affected people. and he also announced 250 million rupees as aid. When after a long time that grant money did not released , we once again contacted Amir Muhammad and asked about it, but his answer was that the amount was Not only for Brep but for the whole Chitral, hence we have not received our share yet. In this regard, our representative repeatedly contacted RPM of AKAH, Ameer Muhammad, and also sent him a message by phone to give his version in this regard, but he has not yet given any feedback or statement on this matter, nor he replied.
A unanimous resolution was also passed in the meeting. Through the resolution, they demanded channelization of chicken goal, restoring of utility store, supply of wheat in green godown maintenance of irrigation canals, shortage of staff in Government Girls High School and shortage of medicines in primary health center should be fulfill immediately. They said that due to repeated floods in the Chikangol canal, the lives of the people here are always in danger and the people here have become mentally ill. hrough the resolution, the food department was demanded to send wheat to this warehouse as soon as possible. They said that due to flood, the irrigation canal have flowed due to which there is a risk of crop loss, they should be restored immediately. Through the resolution, high ups of the Education Department was also demanded that there is severe shortage of staff in the Government Girls High School Prep, and the vacant posts of teachers should be fulfilled immediately. There are 500 households adjacent to Chikan Gol Nala. In case of floods, water enters people’s houses. Since 2017, we are sending resolutions to government institutions and AKAH, which is an institution of Aga Khan Development Network, through these resolutions we demand that This canal should be properly cleaned i.e. channelized, but no action has been taken so far. If there is a flood in this canal again and someone’s life and property are damaged, then all the responsibility will be on the relevant institutions.
They also demanded that the lack of medicines in the primary health unit should be met immediately and the utility store should also be restored. Farman Nazaar, former postmaster, Dr. Muhammad Hazar Khan, Qawat Ali Khan, former president of the local council. Mir Rahim President of Brip Cluster, Allah Dad Khan, Ameer Haji, Mrs. Siraj Nisa and Anbreen Bibi expressed their views. Later Additional Assistant Commissioner Mastuj came and assured these people that within three days some of their problems would be resolved. The affected people took our correspondent to visit the flood-affected area where the public health engineering water tank was also destroyed due to the flood and people are forced to drink dirty water. The victims alleged that no engineer or officer of the department has even inspected the tank. Our correspondent contacted Executive Engineer of Public Health Engineering Department of Public Arshad Iqbal he said its PC 1 is ready and approval has also been given to rebuild this tank but due to lack of funds the work on it could not start as soon as the funds will come. They will start the work on its restoration. On the assurance of Additional Assistant Commissioner Mastoj, the protestors decided to postponed their strike for three days and opened the road and opened the shops and dispersed peacefully besides men of ten villages, women and children, old age people also participated in large numbers in the meeting.
It is worth to mention here that Brep’s apples are very famous and the former President of Pakistan, General Zia-ul-Haq, used to send helicopters from GHQ specifically to pick these apples, who was sending it as a gifts to his domestic and foreign friends and also to Lady Diana.. But since 2005, there has been continuous flooding due to melting of hundreds of years old avalanches on the mountains. Surprisingly, this affected area is not included in the Golf Project. Where there so many times GLOF event occurred.