Shangla infrastructure awaits rehabilitationArchive
SHANGLA: The infrastructure of Shangla district has been awaiting rehabilitation since heavy rains and flash floods wreaked havoc on it in last April.
Though the government had declared the district calamity-hit soon after the flash floods hit the area, basic facilities have yet to be rehabilitated.
Most link roads in the district continue to be closed due to massive landslides.
According to a district administration official, at least 10 major roads, 134 links roads, 59 suspension bridges and 717 drinking water supply schemes were badly affected by the April flash floods.
He told Dawn on Friday that more than 15 suspension bridges and 281 water supply schemes were completely destroyed either by floods or by landslides. The official said the administration was struggling to rehabilitate those facilities due to shortage of funds.
He however said major roads and some links roads had been reopened to light traffic.
District disaster management officer Engineer Taimoor Khan Afridi told Dawn that the government had sent in Rs5 million to enforce the monsoon contingency plan but the facilities destroyed by the 2010 and 2016 floods still awaited rehabilitation.
He said Speaker of the provincial assembly Asad Qaisar had promised the payment of required funds for the purpose three months ago but the promise had yet to be fulfilled.
Social activist Naveed Siddique said bridges and roads in the region often remained closed to traffic forcing the people to cover long distances to fetch water and food.
“Both the government as well as our elected representatives are to blame for our misery,” he said.
District nazim Niaz Ahmad Amir Muqam said despite repeated correspondence, the provincial government didn’t take the district government’s call for the infrastructure’s rehabilitation seriously.
“I personally spoke to the chief secretary and formally asked for funds, but to no avail,” he said.
The nazim said his government didn’t have even machinery to clear roads.
When contacted, Shangla deputy commissioner Dildar Ahmad blamed the shortage of funds for delay in the infrastructure’s restoration.
He said the rehabilitation would begin soon after the funds were released. “The main roads were cleared by private contractors but now, they’ve sought payments for further work. We’re hopeful that the government will give us the required funds in four to five days,” he said.
The DC said the monsoon disaster management plan for the district was ready for execution.
He said the district didn’t have facility like 1122 for to handle emergencies, so the administration and revenue department jointly carried out relief operation in case a natural calamity hit the region. The DC said the administration had already warned the people living along rivers or in the landslide-prone areas to shift to safer places ahead of heavy rains.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2016