KOHISTAN: It is not surprising the dilapidated Komila-Seo Road is so prone to causing accidents. The road was never completed and the authorities never made any efforts to repair it, even after four decades, locals told The Express Tribune.
“Kohistanis have never been treated equally; the resource-rich yet underdeveloped hilly district is living proof,” said Shamsur Rehman, a social activist. “Over half a dozen hydropower projects are in their initial stages in Kohistan and once they are completed they will help the country overcome energy crisis.” He said, “Even the minerals and forests in Kohistan generate income that is used for all of K-P, except Kohistan.”
Rehman added the indifference has created a sense of deprivation and alienation among Kohistanis. “The resistance towards vital projects and the frequent road blocks over issues by locals speaks volumes of their frustration.”
The 21-kilometre Komila-Seo Road was built as a kacha structure about four decades ago to provide access to over 30,000 inhabitants of four union councils to Komila on Karakoram Highway. The UCs include Kooz Purwa, Sigloo, Seo and Komila.
However the road remains incomplete and since it is frequently used by transporters, it breaks down even more with every passing truck. Transporters have to face umpteen difficulties during rains; long-distance travels have become more challenging.
A forest contractor filled the ditches but the recent spell of rains that started Sunday afternoon in Kohistan washed it away. The absence of a drainage system along the roadside caused the rainwater to flood the road, destroying it further.
When approached for comments, an official of the Communication and Works department’s district office, requesting anonymity, said the shortage of funds for repair work is the main reason why this road, and many others, remains in a derelict condition. He said the road in question was carpeted in 1998 from Komila to Seo, covering seven kilometres but the rest was left undone.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2015.