Mastoj bridge in Chitral threatened with collapse

CHITRAL, (MANEND NEWS): Mastuj Bridge, which is very important for land connecting with  Upper Chitral district, is in a very dilapidated condition. Last year, a portion of this bridge was damaged  due to flood, the foundation of this bridge, pillars, were  badly damaged, besides, it due  to the diversion  of the river, the water flowed in the middle of the two parts of the bridge.  Last year road to Mastuj as well as  Gilgal, Brughal, Yarkhun was also closed. This bridge was built during the regime of the former President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, and this road was also brought from the east side of the river to the west side. He also had announced and approved construction of Shandor road as work order issued and coal tar also brought by contractor which are no damaging without using.  The National Highway Authority had  started work on Boni Mastooj road last year , but now it was left unfinished. Due to the bad condition and roughness of the road, when a vehicle passes on it, due to mud and dust, not only the residents who living on road  side  suffering  a lot, but passers-by also suffer from various diseases due to this dust.

Chitral Development Moment CDM, comprising on volunteers  organization raising voice for the construction of roads in Chitral, has been raising the issue from time to time for the construction of these roads. It should be built as soon as possible. According to Inayatullah Aseer, a senior member of CDM, this road is very important. If a road is built beyond Mastuj to the Central Asian states, it will not only bring us closer to these states which will connectivity be restored, but it will also change the fate of this backward region by promoting tourism and culture. He said that Gwadar route is 1800 km while Brughal route is only 200 km from Chitral to Tajikistan. As it was a silk route in past using by merchandise.

Liaquat Ali,  vice president of  Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says that the people of the area are very disappointed because of the unfinished work on the Mastuj road. He expressed great regret that a Chinese company had done a very good quality and strong blacktopping  on Booni road, but the NHA contractor had made the paved road unpaved by raking the coal tar , but still on this unpaved road. No more blacktopping work done yet.. Now, the dust and dirt created by the vehicles passing on this road has made miserable life of  the people of the area.

Mohammad Ashraf who is a driver by profession says that he often has to pass through this road. Earlier it was the best  metal road on which a Chinese company laid the best coaltar, but the National Highway Authority contractor removed it from this road. The blacktop road  was turned into ruins and now it is known that the contractor has also taken his machinery from here. He said that when the construction of this road was started, it was not surveyed in view of modern requirements. went, but started the work of  widening of road  and construction on the same road when it was a road for mules, horses and donkeys some 50 years ago. If they construct bridges where water flowing on road  It would also be safe and easy to travel.

Syed Burhan Shah Advocate is also a senior member of CDM. He was standing on the same road which NHA has converted it in a dirt road from a metal one. Due to this, people suffer from tension and various diseases. He further said that there are not only 200 villages living beyond Mastooj Bridge which is in a very bad condition but it connect Chitral  to Brughal and Gilgit Baltistan, as well as  the road also goes to Wakhan and Tajikistan through this bridge. He said that hundreds of vehicles pass on this bridge every day, but last year this bridge was badly harmed  due to flood. He said that the concern department  not repair it in time  only for to keep their pockets warm, but when this bridge breaks down, they will have to rebuild a new  bridge here, which will cost million  of. But now it can be repaired with a few lakhs of rupees. He said that the road from Chitral to Booni and Mastuj has been done very poorly and we will soonly  approach the court against this contractor and the department. He said that  company that works on this road did not have any plan but they get a lot of money for digging out of blacktopping portion  and to collect their money they dug coaltar but did not blacktopped it  again. We will definitely go to court so that we get our right.

Rafiq Ahmed CDM is a general secretary. He said that we had the best road to Booni but the company turned it into ruins and left it incomplete  due to which people are suffering from lung diseases and people cannot breathe due to dust and dirt. The condition of the road from here to Chitral University is also very bad and the students have to face a lot of difficulties in traveling. He expressed great concern over the poor condition of the Mastuj Bridge that if this bridge fell down  as  Upper Chitral will be destroyed. The connection will be completely disconnected, now the water level in the river is also rising, before that it is very important to repair this bridge.

Syed Jamaluddin Shah is also a social worker and an honorary member of CDM. He said that due to the collapse of the Mastuj bridge, not only will be caused  of  land discconnection of the people be cut off, but there will also be no festival of Shandur and no one will be able to attend Jashan Brughal. He said that Mastooj and Booni road was not only left incomplete but also The work that has been done is  very poor and substandard quality. He said that it is our fundamental right to be given us  a good condition road. He said that the government should not take wrong advantage of our honor. This road has been paved and now the construction work on this  road is also closed. People pass through the same road and Mastooj Bridge to see world’s highest polo ground Shandur Mela.

CDM members and the political and social circle of Chitral have also expressed outrage over the shoddy and substandard work on the Boni Mastooj road, unfortunately the consultant who was monitoring  the road  was a sick and ailing person . and never left his office. That is why the construction company has done a very poor work in the protective walls and culverts, in which a cement wall has been built on the outside but the inside is filled with stones and garbage, but no one has asked them for such substandard work  They  demanded from the Federal Government as well as the Supreme Court of Pakistan  to direct the National Highway Authority to resume construction work on this road and to  appoint an honest consultant to check the work of the construction company so that quality work can be done on this important highway which is causing hardship to the people. By starting work on this road in the present condition, the problems of the people have increased and the work has also suspended.

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