By Fazal Khaliq 

MINGORA: The residents of Zarinal village in Bahrain tehsil have demanded of the government to reconstruct the bridge over the Swat River in Zarinal village to connect them with the rest of Swat.

The recent floods washed away the lone hanging bridge connecting the village with other parts of Swat. The villagers have installed a makeshift chair lift to cross the river. Although healthy men can cross the river with the help of chairlift yet it is difficult for children and women to do so.

“We need an extra person at the other side of the river to pull the rope of the chairlift. When we cross the river, we take an extra person from the village with us who pull the rope for us. Children and women can’t operate the chairlift without the help of a man,” said Ajab Khan, a resident of Zarinal village.

He said that most of the villagers were farmers. “We have to take our vegetables to markets in Bahrain, Madyan and Mingora. Since the bridge has been washed away by the floods, our business has also been affected. Taking vegetables by chairlift is risky and also time consuming,” said Mr Khan.

The villagers said that two children drowned in the river recently after falling down from the chairlift. “We face difficulties when we have to take patients to hospitals in Bahrain or Mingora,” said Ibrahim, another villager.

Several children from across the river have to attend a primary school, located in Zarinal village. They face difficulties to reach the school.

“I have to cross the river daily to go to my school in Zarinal village. It is very risky to cross the river in the chairlift as some people have fallen down from the chairlift and drowned in the river,” said Rehan, a student.

He said that some of his friends quit the school after the bridge was washed away as they could not cross the river.

Additional Assistant Commissioner Abid Mohmand, when contacted, said that the issue was in their notice and they were in contact with the relevant departments and NGOs to reconstruct the bridge.