ISLAMABAD -  People in a remote village of Tank, a southern district of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, look to have imported an interesting idea popular in Indonesian islands, to connect to the district headquarters in absence of a proper bridge over a stream.

The village, Shah Alam, was connected with the Tank city through a bridge, which was washed away by the devastating floods in 2010. Ever since, the provincial authorities never looked back at the area and the people, for whom the flood had created a big misery.

The people, however, did not sit idle praying the elected representatives or other relevant officials to rebuild the bridge, but arranged the bamboo rafts the way Indonesian people use to sail through the rivers. The rafts are wonderful and have to a great extent solved the problem, but with a cost, as those intending to cross to the other side of the stream have to pay for the ride and allow their shoes to soak in the water.

The scheme is effective enough to carry a motorbike or a midsize cow to the other side, but the owner would have to support it on the rafts. When the “passengers” or the luggage is loaded on the raft, a guy on one side of the stream pushed the raft into the waters with his hands while another guy on the other side of the stream pulls the raft through a rope tied to it.

Asmat Shah Garwaki, a friend, shared a few pictures of the rafts with The Nation, and said that the makeshift arrangement serves nearly seven to eight thousand people of Shah Alam village. He said that people of other villages beyond Shah Alam, including Daud Khel, Lakki Mechin Khel, Mehsud Abad, Badin Khel and Langer Khel also prefer to use the rafts to cross over to the Tank city.

Garwaki shared that the local people had earlier tried to move their representatives to arrange for the bridge, but after meeting disappointment, resorted to this mechanism. In response to a question as to whether from the local had imported the idea, Garwaki said that it apparently was a brainchild of a local man, who, he said, had no access to the internet or other resources to have taken the idea from abroad. He said that such floating rafts were not common in the area.

The episode on one side tells of the creativity of the rural brain, but also well depicts the apathy of provincial government, which for the last over four years has been run by a coalition led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), a party that stirred the national political arena with its slogan of change. The party, though, is able to claim to have brought about fundamental changes in some of the aspects of governance in the province, but during its rein, it has been ignoring infrastructure projects vital for livelihood. The Tank’s story of floating bridge is a big example of the lack of interest in infrastructure development on the part of the incumbent rulers.

Garwaki said that residents of the area were still demanding a proper bridge to replace the one destroyed by the 2010 floods. He said that crossing the stream with the rafts was not only an uneasy experience but it also scared besides soaking shoes. Also, the arrangement was not fit for transporting heavy goods across the stream, especially the animals, which often ran away frightened due to unfamiliarity with the voyage through rafts.