Administration given 10 days to widen spillway

HUNZA, June 18: The volunteers stopped on Friday widening of the spillway of Hunza lake after negotiations with the top military officials.

The National Disaster Management Authority Chairman, Lt-Gen (retd) Nadeem Ahmed and Force Commander, Gilgit-Baltistan, Maj-Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa met with representatives of the affected people and notables from Gojal.

The affected people gave 10 days deadline for widening of the spillway to increase discharge of water from the lake through controlled blasting of the boulders hindering the erosion to save further inundation of settlements upstream.

They left for their villages after the officials assurance and warned to resume their protest and spillway widening work if the authorities concerned did not meet the 10-day deadline.

Talking to mediapersons at Aliabad helipad, the NDMA chairman said that mishandling of the spillway could impact downstream areas therefore controlled blasting in phases would be made to increase the discharge of water.

He said panic prevails among people due to the damages to the settlements. He said the helicopter service is not economical and a permanent solution. The boat service would be allowed after ensuring the access and safety of the commuters, he added.

He said reasonable house could be constructed with the package announced by the Prime Minister for the affected people in Gojal. He said NGOs will be encouraged to facilitate the affected people.

Gen Ahmed said consultation had been made with stakeholders to allow the downstream people to continue their daily works during daytime and return to the camps during night time if the situation remained normal after the phased surgeries of the spillway.

About 200 volunteers from Shishkat, Gulmit and other villages had arrived at the spillway of the lake by boats on Friday morning.—Correspondent

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