Chitral facing shortage of food items, medicines

?.. Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: The last week?s heavy snowfall has caused acute shortage of daily use items and life saving drugs in Chitral.

Food items like wheat flour, rice, ghee, pulses, milk, sugar and vegetables are in short supply due to the closure of Lowari tunnel for last two weeks.

In the aftermath of the heavy snowfall, the approach roads to the tunnel on either side were closed by snow avalanches and boulders.

Sajjad Ahmed, a village council nazim, said shortage of wheat flour and rice was the most acute.

Mr Ahmed said in the past shopkeepers replenished their stocks of daily use items on weekly basis during the winter season as the Lowari tunnel was opened three days a week, which did not happen this year.

He said the shortage of oak wood for heating and cooking purpose coupled with the short supply of natural gas had also added to the agony of the people.

Nabi Shah, a vegetable vendor, said except for potato and beans, all other vegetables were supplied from the national market and similar was the case with chicken and beef which are brought here from Punjab.

The closure of Lowari tunnel for last two weeks has left us with no vegetable except potato, and rendered us jobless as we derived our sustenance on daily basis, he said, adding no fruit was available in the local market either.

Consumers complained that due to the lethargy of the district administration and the food department, the traders had resorted to hoarding, thus creating artificial shortage of daily use items to earn extra bucks.

Mukhamuddin, a social worker, said benefiting from the closure of Lowari tunnel, both the traders and transporters were fleecing the consumers, and the district administration was a silent spectator.

He said that the transporters had increased fare on the intra-district routes by 200 per cent. Fakhre Alam, a druggist, said medicines, particularly life saving drugs, were in short supply. .. Source

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