Forgotten and neglected

August 19, 2019

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly passed the budget for 2019-2020 in June this year, and as reported in some segments of the media, the districts of Noshehra, Swabi, Swat, and Kohat were allocated...

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The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly passed the budget for 2019-2020 in June this year, and as reported in some segments of the media, the districts of Noshehra, Swabi, Swat, and Kohat were allocated developmental funds in billions while Lower Dir received a mini share of Rs750 million.

Some local people hold members of the provincial assembly from the area responsible for this failure, and rightly so. When the budget was being debated, they could have demanded increase in the allotted funds to the district they came from. But, being given tickets by the parties’ leaderships against the wishes of their local workers, they may believe that people had voted for the party -- not for them in individual capacity, therefore, only the particular political party is answerable to these people.

The people of Lower Dir have suffered substantial damage and losses, both individually and collectively, in the recent past due to security operations and the dismal law and order situation in the region. A vast majority of them had to leave their homes, sell their livestock and other household items at nominal prices, while being temporarily displaced. Collectively, the infrastructure of the district was destroyed. Many public servants, proficient at their jobs, chose to get transferred to ensure their own safety. Therefore, the grievances of Lower Dir should have been addressed on a priority basis, or at least on parity with those of other similar districts.

One of the long-standing problems of the area is daily traffic jams at Chakdara. A bypass has been proposed and announced since long, and it has appropriate allocation in the recent budget, but now the process needs to be accelerated on an urgent basis. Not only does it create troubles for patients, students and other daily commuters, it also keeps tourists at bay. Most of the side roads in the area are bumpy and in poor condition. Recently, a subsidiary road joining Gulabad and Asband was repaired by the local people on a self-help basis.

Moreover, people have no easy access to healthcare facilities. The location of the Adenzai headquarters hospital is extremely inconvenient. The bustling narrow street at the end of which it is situated remains mostly blocked especially during morning and afternoon.

Though the district stands fifth on education ranking in the province, there are many weaknesses in the system which prevent children from learning and growing in a better environment. By way of example, there are more than 110 students in class 6 and about 90 in class 9, learning lessons from one teacher at a time in the government high school at Adam Dherai. Students in these classes couldn’t be divided into sections due to lack of resources. It would be difficult to easily breathe in such a classroom, let alone learn and lecture. How can teachers manage so many children in such classrooms?

And the Sanam Dam which is to be built in Adenzai area couldn’t materialize; it’s been years since its announcement. The plan has been shelved due to local politics and the indifference of the provincial government despite the fact that it is a popular and common demand of the local people.

Developmental projects generate employment, boost local economy, help promote a positive image of the area, stimulate the tourism industry, tend to alleviate poverty, and elevate the standards of living of the people. The approval of such initiatives in this respect must be granted to Lower Dir. Lately, the provincial government identified 25 spots for promotion of tourism. As Lower Dir contains many tourist resorts like Laram Top, Gora Gut, Fishing Hut, and Bagh Dherai etc, it must be given its due share in it.

The people of Lower Dir have an overwhelming urge that they had had people in higher places as Bannu, Nowshehra, Swat, and other districts had at one point of time or another. People should never have to feel or think this way. Mahmood khan is the chief minister of Wwat as well as Lower Dir and all other districts of the province. He must deal with all of them on an equal basis -- irrespective of what was done by the past chief ministers. Otherwise, all districts will crave for having their own man in the CM House -- which can only be termed an extremely negative development.


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