Skip to main content

Havoc of Unplanned Urbanisation in Gilgit

Published on: Dawn News
Gilgit, the provincial metropolis of Gilgit-Baltistan, is facing a number of civic problems due to its fast but unplanned urbanization. The most serious of these is the worsening status of the city’s drainage and sewerage system, which is threatening public health even as other civic amenities come under pressure of the growing population and increased commercial and economic activity.

Gilgit, which had no special need for a modern sewerage system until the sixties being a tranquil habitat of a simple farming society, has been transforming into an urban and commercial hub with the government and non-government offices clustered here. Population growth in the absence of a proper drainage and sewerage system has resulted in the contamination of the two arterial canals (dalejas) which had hitherto supplied potable water to the town.

This has resulted in sharp rise in gastrointestinal diseases among users of these water channels. In case of heavy rainfall, these primitive canals laden with clogged sewerage material are unable to carry away the city’s refuse. Areas from Barmas to Jutial, Nagral, and Kulchinot up to Kashrot are badly affected.

The perennial waterlogging problem faced by these central parts further makes things worse for localities like Kashrot, Majini Mohallah and the bazaar area.A sewerage/drainage project was conceived years ago followed by its feasibility study by Nespak. However, it was shelved as a costly project. Unplanned constructions allowed during the preceding three consecutive decades are behind these myriad problems. Such constructions continue without a thought to the severe problems they are and would create in the future.

As the old sewerage infrastructure failed to keep up with the city’s growth, waterlogging in the central areas mentioned earlier is causing serious problems. One cannot dig deeper than a foot or more before striking water. Torrential rains make things worse. It has to be noted that all houses in residential areas have modern flush systems, which help pollution to percolate to the subsoil water.

Until a half century ago, the landscape here was wholly different with panoramic views of lush green acreage all around except for the tiny patch of the bazaar area – not even making 1/4th of a kilometre. The shops of that period were constructed in primitive style while the rest of the town comprised agricultural land.

Urban growth played havoc with this green cover as with other services some of which were natural like outflow of sewage. Things as they are today need urgent attention of the newly formed democratic government, which cannot shut its eyes from the problems created by lack of urban planning and the need to install civic infrastructure to meet the present needs of the town. In any case, the sewerage and drainage system has inevitably to be put in place as it concerns public health. But when it is done concerned authorities must ensure that the prospective drainage/sewerage system must not find any outlet into the Gilgit River.


Popular posts from this blog

Gilgit-Baltistan – A Historical Narrative

BySyed Shamsuddin

Perceptibly, there abound divergent narratives and counter narratives wittingly or unwittingly churned out as to status of Gilgit-Baltistan which more often than not, have no bearing on and are sadly devoid of any substance when put in the correct historical perspective. In order to get the best and clearest possible picture, it becomes imperative to have a full view of and delve deeper into its background with a view to irrefutably place facts connected with the matter in the correct historical order by separating what is called the wheat from the chaff for the information of the readers as follows:
Strictly speaking, the region fell on turbulent times and troublous waters during the second half of the nineteenth century which may, with profit, be called the period of uncertainty and the gloomiest transitional phase in Gilgit-Baltistan’s context. Synoptically, region consisted of and apportioned into a dozen tiny kingdoms each ruled by despotic, independent rulers f…

Foiling India’s Inimical Designs

BySyed Shamsuddin A very interesting summation, aptly encompassing has been going on in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) overtime in socio-political context, was published in a regional Urdu daily the other day. The learned writer offered a peep into the brief historical background of the region dating to the post-independence period, and referred precisely to what happened preceding the liberation of Gilgit-Baltistan. Beginning with briefly recording of the facts about how the British colonizers packed off by giving back the territory of Gilgit, in August 1947, to the Dogra occupiers, quite intriguingly with the condition that the latter would retain Major William Brown – a British military officer – to assign him the command of Gilgit Scouts. The move was ostensibly aimed at checking effectively and blocking Russo-China contacts, as well as to preclude Gilgit region from the impact of communists inroads into this land.
After the successful revolution of 1st November 1947, Gilgit emerged as a…

Eulogizing The Protectors of Culture and Tradition

BySyed Shamsuddin QUITE PROPITIOUSLY, a flurry of activities is getting underway in the context of revival of Shina language in its original form and diction. This is in addition to the marked efforts afoot to build a consensus among the literary circles formed by Shina speaking communities all across the Shina speaking areas – mostly inhabiting northern Pakistan and part of the Indian held Kashmir- to popularize and universalize a homogenized approach to a unified code aimed at sustaining and preserving this language which is sadly on the wane.
To give a recent example, Shakil Ahmad Shakil carried out a research work culminating in his products like ‘dade shilokeh’ (grandmas’s tales) and Shina Grammar, Aziz-ur-Rehman Malangi’s Shina Diwan and to top them all is Haji Shah Mirza’s translation of the Holy Qura’an into Shina which is greatly contributive to the existing literature in Shina. There is no gainsaying that viewed in terms of it originality of form, diction and etymology, Shin…