Case study at Kalash valley Chitral.

Traditional Flour Mills

A Case Study at Kalash Valley

Undertaken by Saleem Shah Chitral

Flour mill is a small system installed traditionally to grind the grains almost in every village or in every hamlet of Kalash valley individually or collectively. The system comprises of some significant items including a wooden penstock, a wooden turbine with short wooden wings fixed with the main body, a hopper tapering downward, a small wooden bushel fixed with the hopper at the end, two grindstones which are flat, thick revolving discs and round in shapes with holes in their centers.  

A special underground chamber enough to accommodate the spinning turbine with its entire wings is built.    Turbine is supported by a small piece of hard stone put roughly on the plank of timber properly leveled and finished to maintain its motion and balance. The wooden plank lying under the turbine is then adjusted with a round wooden pole of 6” dia flattened at its one rim where a rectangular hole is made to insert the edge of the plank wood. Adjustment is made firmly with wooden nails. It is an integral part of the system which is installed at the side of the flour trough to reduce and accelerate speed of the grinding stones and to examine the nature of grinded flour. The standard of the grinded flour is checked and measured poking it with fingers.

With the neck of the turbine a dowel made of iron with two wings of equal size of the same wood is fixed to maintain its balance and motion before it is crossed through the mouth of a female grindstone and filled the gap around the shaft tightly with wooden nails.  The female stone without spinning and making any agitation supports the male stone by giving it a place on her chest for crushing the grain and maintaining other parts in proper balance. At the reversed side of the wooden pole a rectangular hole is made through which a piece of wood inserted so that the wooden pole could be operated easily for increasing and decreasing the speed of the turbine. The Spinning stone which keeps important role throughout the process have an open mouth in a circular shape at its center. A small open framework is made on both edges of the mouth to accommodate the tongue of the spinning stone made of iron with a small rectangular hole in the center to adjust it with the shaft of turbine.  The tongue is then adjusted with the dowel already fixed with the wooden turbine.  Turbine is fixed in front of the penstock but during fixing of the turbine it is kept in mind that the water gushing down from the height of 20 ft gaining proper speed could fall on the wings of the turbine rather fallen on the body. During adjustment of the turbine traditional leveling and balancing measures are adopted. Removing the spinning stone, the area is leveled and the turbine is balanced with a piece of stick. The stick is fixed with the shaft of the turbine fastening it tightly. Then the turbine is spun slowly and gradually with hands from inside of the chamber by an individual and from other side it is monitored and its balance is analyzed by other individuals. If the stick touches the ground in some places and leaves other un- touched. It means it is not balanced. But when the stick completes its travel touching the whole area round then it is considered properly balanced. The inner sides of both the stones are made rough and un- smooth curving them by a pointed hammer so that the grains of every species could be crushed properly. At the roof of the turbine chamber a small hole is left which is very important to monitor the function of turbine regularly. At one side just beneath the spinning stone there is a place specially made for storing the flour coming down from beneath the grindstones on temporarily basis. Just above the spinning stone a wooden hopper narrowing down ward fixed with a small bushel is slung fastening it tightly with the roof of the flour mill by twisted tender shoots of the willow tree after crossing a round wood of 3” dia through the hopper. In the middle of the hopper there is a round ball of stone or wood as equal as snuff box in weight and size hanging with a string on the one side and fastened it with the bushel on the other. It is a control device used to balance the grain entering the region of the two spinning stones. The two grindstones rub together gratingly to change the grain into small particles or powder. Another peculiar item is added to sustain the flow of grain travelling down from the hopper to bushel and finally through bushel to inside of the spinning stones at a snail’s pace. It is just a small wood of 1/2 feet which is fixed loosely with the bushel by a thread. This is very tiny item but its function is significant than other parts of the system.  After binding it with the bushel with a loose knot it is left free on the spinning stone so that it could vibrate the bushel constantly and sustain the flow of grain in a proper way. It depends upon the cadence of the spinning stone. When speed of the stone accelerates disturbance of this item increases automatically and similarly, when the alacrity reduces the excitement of this item comes to its lower level. In this way supply of grain is made systematic.

Running of the system is made by water crossing through wooden penstock of 15-20 ft long which is installed horizontally from the sedimentation tank to the turbine or directly from the channel made properly through the elevated land to increase the fall and gravity of water. Through penstock the water falls on the wings of turbine and spins it forcefully which in turn whirls the grinding stone. Taking great speed the grinding stone agitates the knocking piece of wood attached with the bushel. In this way the whole system becomes functional and grinding of grain is made efficient and well organized. Water flowing through this channel is controlled by inlet and outlet systems made at the main channel and sometimes at the sedimentation tank. All parts used in this system are traditional and conventional mostly made of wood. The shaft is fixed with the turbine and the tongue is fixed with the shaft forged by the local smith heating and beating it on the anvil with hammer. The two grindstones are selected from the special rocks for which different valleys known where almost the entire mill owners go annually to fabricate them in proper shape with special instruments. They select once’ which have brownish and reddish colors. Stones of these colors have the characteristics of durability, stability, hardness and roughness which are cut cleanly to a standard size, well defined, well polished, made it round, mouth is made in the center, tongue chamber is made cutting the lips of the revolving stone.  One side of both the stones which grind the grain are made pointed to cut or pierce of the grain and after giving final shape of both the grindstones they are shifted down to valley in hubbub of a great convoy. The weight of each grindstone is estimated to be approximately 600 kg to 800 kg. Special instrument for shifting of these stones down to valley is made locally. For making this instrument hard wood preferably mulberry tree is used. The instrument is like a wooden ladder slightly stooped which has only three steps. The step fixed in the middle of the ladder is used as axle inserting it through the mouth of grinding stone and then adjusted the edges with ladder firmly. The second and third steps are attached with both sides of the ladder to control the movement and whirling of the grinding stone during travel to down valley by the people. While traveling downward the ladder is grabbed back forcefully to facilitate the people who pull the ladder frontward to lighten their burden and reduce the weight. In descending from the mountain using the dilapidated dirt track, the speed is kept very slow to avoid stone wheel of 800 kg from turning over and over on its axis in any direction. Walk with an unsteady swaying to and fro with the rolling wheel on its axis parallel to the undulating direction of motion is very difficult which the people adeptly manage. During the travel the wheel is propelled from behind when it offers resistance to move ahead due to hindrance. It comes out from this obstacle with jerk when thrust is applied forcefully from behind. It is very dangerous action which is performed by the people adroitly to maintain balance and self-control.  When it comes to valley the speed is increased till it reaches to the place where it is to be installed. Selection of special stone, making of proper instrument to refine it, to give it a beautiful shape, and finally to bring it to the valley travelling through the zigzag tracks is not an easy job. For this job local experts are available which are hired on compensation in cash or kind by the owners of the traditional flour mills. The experts take one month for manufacturing and installation of time-honored machinery skillfully when all other materials are stored in advance. Once the mill is built properly it goes longer without a major repair and overhauling. But minor repairs which include plastering of walls and roofs with local earth, replacement of turbine wings, exchange of penstocks and substitution of woolen strings and wooden nails used in fitting of different joints together are usually practiced. It does not need any exotic parts to regulate its function, to improve its productivity and to increase its life expectancy proficiently.  It totally depends upon the local materials which are available in the valley throughout the year copiously.

Machinery and equipment used in the flour mills are local and cheap in terms of cost. They are skillfully installed inside a room of 8×8 ft by the local experts. The room is surrounded by walls of stones to avoid flour from dust.  Plastering inside the room is made with the mud of special kind mixing it with the dust of flour covered by floor around the spinning stone in layer. Beside the hopper a special place is made for storing the grain in a container being brought there before grinding is started. The owner of the mill incessantly endeavors to keep his mill busy in grinding of grains brought there by different people on compensatory basis. Grinding is made on the basis of 1st comes 1st goes. Compensation for grinding 40 kg grain is fixed as 1 kg or half bushel of flour in case of kind or Rs. 100/40 kg in case of cash. A simple and ordinary flour mill grinds 160 kg grain /day and 200 kg grain/night earning Rs. 400/day and Rs. 500/night making a total income of Rs. 900/24 hours.  Total monthly income of an ordinary mill owner becomes Rs.27000 which is enough to support an average family of 8 people financially. Annual income becomes Rs. 324000 to meet the household requirements, cost of schooling and health care expenses etc. In the valley traditional flour mill is considered an important asset of poor people and more beneficial rather than having a landed property of 2 acres. Normally the income of Rs 324000/annum gained from one flour mill cannot be gained from crops grown on the land of more than 2 acres. Secondly, the cost incurred on purchase of seed, fertilizers, pesticides, cost of cultivation, cost of harvesting, cost of threshing, cost of cleaning the water channels, cost of plowing through using tractors or bulls etc are higher than the cost incurred on operation & maintenance of a flour mill in a year. Thirdly, in this particular valley, grinding grains is made by the women folk usually. They take extra charges for the donkeys they use to shift the grain to the flour mills. The small bodied donkeys or nags which earn additional income for the mill owners are found standing tethered with the stumps of the fallen trees under an arbour behind each mill or they are left open on the stubble for grazing till the grains are ground. Involvement of women in this activity saves time for their male counterparts who rear the livestock, shear them, twine the wool by an instrument which is similar to a bow, weave it, and spin it with spindle to make rugs which are sold in the market on expensive prices. Considerable income is gained from sale of rug which is specially made from the goat fur.   The time saved is also utilized by the male counterparts in bringing fire wood from the forests for domestic as well as commercial purposes. Substantial cash income is obtained from this business.

Traditional flour mills existing generally throughout Chitral District and particularly in this valley are considered a perennial source of income to support the poverty stricken families. Other families also get their grains ground from the local mills comparatively in cheap rates than grinding from stylish machines run by electricity. Rate of grinding of 40 kg grain is fixed as Rs.200 in electric machine while Rs. 100 in traditional flour mills. 50 % increase in grinding rate is a big financial loss for families having average income. It is a local perception that the flour ground from the traditional flour mill is tastier than the flour ground from electric machine. Secondly, the flour ground from the electric machine becomes warm and within a shortest period of time it changes its color and becomes decomposed. People prefer pulverized their grains from the local flour mills than used electric machines for the purpose. These mills as a long run pay back benefits to the general public besides providing substantial profits to the mill owners. Thirdly, grinding of maize crop made by the local mills is profitable than grinding it from the electric machine. Maize is ground in little quantity to preserve its color and taste on daily basis. For grinding this only the traditional flour mill is used. As maize is the major crop being cultivated in the valley mostly on the fields stretched along the stream. People particularly the Kalash families include maize as special dish in their traditional cuisines which they eat regularly. Local flour mills have the capability to crush maize and make it a soft powder which can easily be transformed in to find bread without proper kneading and winnowing is made. Local mills take sufficient time to grind maize and germinated wheat which are used almost by every family living in the valley as staple food. Electric machines which are totally dependent on the regular flow of electricity cannot be used to grind such grains perennially.

Traditional flour mills play pivotal role in reduction of poverty in the valley. Rs. 324000/year is gained as cash income directly almost by every mill owner which makes a total income of Rs. 2916000 obtained by a total of 9 mill owners. Indirectly it provides financial as well as social benefits to almost those families who undertake this practice at their door steps paying a nominal compensation. When traditional flour mills remain dysfunctional or major breakdown in the structures transpires due to flood or by any catastrophe, then people travel long distances to grind their grains from the flour mills located in other valleys. In the situation, not only the owners but also indirect beneficiaries face financial loss. Last year the heavy flood washed away 9 flour mills completely along with agricultural fields, gardens and residential areas of worth Rs. 14 millions owned by 26 people.  Majority of the effected people conceived disaster of their flour mills a great loss than the loss to their other assets which include, livestock, agricultural fields, gardens and houses along with the entire moveable properties. A total of 9 flour mills were completely ruined leaving nothing behind. On one hand the poor mill owners lost their mills which were the perennial source of income, on the other they had to invest approximately Rs. 100000 each in procurement of new land besides the cost of its leveling, the cost of grindstones, the cost of penstocks, the cost of turbine, the costs of hopper and bushel, the costs of parts and finally the cost of installation etc. It was a great shock and upheaval faced by the people who owned flour mills. Those who lost their agricultural field were assisted financially and those who lost their livestock were extended monetary help and permanent shelters were constructed for those who lost their residences. Unfortunately, the mill owners whose losses were great in financial term extended financial support neither by the govt. nor by other development agencies. Some sold pieces of their agricultural fields which were saved from disasters, some sold their valuable assets, and some took short terms loans from the commercial banks to reconstruct their mills adjoining the stream. Traditional flour mills are constructed on such places where flow of water in great velocity and quantity could be found perpetually. So mill owners wish to have their mills nearby the stream so that they could easily approach local materials including, stone, sand, boulders which are brought there by the heavy flood rather they are shifted from distance expensing huge amount. Not only the mill owners use these materials but other people also exploit such resources for construction purposes. Within a shortest period of time the area is cleaned from the stones and replaced it by the shrubbery and bushes.

 I personally visited the traditional flour mills washed away by the flood throughout the valley. I took pictures of the devastated mills and interviewed with the affected people one by one.  I started my visit from the house of Mr. Abdul Khaliq S/O Gulsi an unfortunate person of 60 years who lives in Shakhandeh Bumburait along with his large family of 9 people which include his 2 sons, 3 daughters, 1 grandson, 2 granddaughters and 1 daughter in law. The entire family members live in a small room of 8×8’ with a dirty toilet of 4×4’ without any ventilation and water. The family is vulnerable and helpless without having any resources except the 1 flour mills which earned cash income of Rs. 324000/year before they were damaged by flood last year. It is inauspicious that the entire family members suffered from tuberculosis the most lethal disease. Mr. Abdul Khaliq a TB patient is also suffered from asthma and high blood pressure which avert him from walking, from working and from performing household chores. His wife died at the age of 55 years from TB leaving behind her husband, her 2 sons and 3 daughters orphan. His elder son is Mr. Muhammad Nadir who is a TB patient of 30 years with no hearing power. Mr.Muhammad Nadir has a wife of 19 years who has also been declared TB patient when she born Shazia and Nadira the two daughters of 5 years and 6 years respectively.  He also born a son suffered from TB for 3 years. Unfortunately all the three children are in the firm grip of this deadly disease. Mr. Muhammad Nasir is the second son of Mr. Abdul Khaliq who has been enjoying tuberculosis from his early age.  He loosed his vision at the age of 20 years before Fahmida the young daughter of 5 years was borne.  Mr. Nadir Shah the 3rd son of Mr. Abdul Khaliq who was professionally blacksmith died of tuberculosis and cancer two years ago. 20 years old Mrs Khair Bibi a daughter of Mr. Khaliq was TB patient before her marriage with a young and sturdy Jamatullah of Nooristan. Now Jamatullah is 25 years old and is suffered from this horrifying disease along with Tariq Jamil his newly born son who is vomiting and crying in her mother’s lap. Tuberculosis has become the family history which the family members never forget.

Mr. Abdul Khaliq has no resources for specialized treatment of his entire family members. Even he cannot endure the burden incurred on transport of the family members for specialized treatment in any hospitals functional in the district. The elders and youngsters are joyously speaking about their serious illness without any horror and fear of death. Smiling faces of the children wearing worn out clothes and shabby shoves reflect their courage and strong nerve to endure such mental, physical and psychological disabilities.

The house where this family lives is terrifying and scary with a hearth in one corner and capon basket in another. Between the hearth and the capon basket the whole family members accommodate themselves scarcely.  Two traditional wooden beds woven with goat string are available in this room which is used by Mr. Abdul Khaliq and his elder son. The remaining family members use roof of the room jointly in spring and summer seasons but in winter this room is also shared by them.

Mr. Abdul Khaliq has no landed property where a house slightly better from the old one could be constructed. A small piece of uncultivable land owned by him was washed away by flood completely.  In this piece of land there were two flour mills which were used for grinding grain by Mr. Abdul Khaliq on compensatory basis. Unfortunately, the source of livelihood of the family stopped when the turbulent and disordered flood engulfed the whole area. One portion of the dilapidated house collapsed when the flood crossed the area and hit it. The family was shifted to the nearby mound along with domestic goods and gears. Just after the recede of flood the family was taken back to the house.

Abdul Khaliq needs financial help to reconstruct traditional flour mills which were the means of income enough to strengthen his livelihood. SRSP provided him grant of Rs. 15000 which is inadequate to support his family or to reconstruct the water mills which were harassed by flood again and again last year. The family needs Rs.75000 for reconstruction of two numbers of flour mills beside the expenses incurred on fight against tuberculosis which is supposed to be extended a larger surface in other valleys if it is not restricted here. Since elimination of the flour mills which were the only means of his livelihood he is passing a miserable life along with his TB effected family in a dark and dilapidated room where except broken tea cups, an inundated tea pot, an old lantern, torn up beddings, ancient hard wares for storing water, baskets made of perverted willow tree, old wooden boxes, a churn made of goat hide, some pieces of steel plates and pots for cooking, plastic tray and a plastic trough for washing clothes etc. The affected family eats bread of maize with salted tea in their breakfast, lunch and dinner daringly. Sometimes they live without eating any food for the whole day and sometimes they are materially assisted by other people living in their surroundings. When Abdul khaliq was asked about the reasons behind the poverty they are facing. He said, that he must ask us to release him from his task, because he has not got all day to depict his grief, and he is getting tired of describing melancholy scenes. It was heartbreaking to hear him weep. He could not stay with us but went from there abruptly. What anguish khaliq suffered: he felt death strike many times in to his heart; he wept and wailed and made a pitiful clamor and watched secretly for a chance to kill himself.    

Zakaria a poor man of 55 years became a second victim of flood at Brun. His landed property of ½ acre where a flour mill was standing functional throughout the year to support the family of 8 people including 3 sons of young age 3 daughters of 18 and 16 years and 1 wife of 50 years completely overwhelmed. His wife helps in rearing livestock comprising 1 cow 6 sheep and 4 goats. She shears the wool, cord it with special local instrument, make strings with wooden spindle, weave and intertwine to make fine rugs at limited quantity. She helps with other people in making sheaves of the harvested crops, in collecting and unpeeling maize, in cleaning wheat, in washing clothes and in grazing the livestock on the newly harvested stubbles at nominal charges in order to support her male counterpart.  Mr. Zakaria has a piece of land where he has built a small residence to accommodate his family of  8 people besides a cattle pen comprising 2 rooms with a small shed without a roof. The residence has been constructed with mud bricks, stones, rafters covered by thatch and plastered with clay of special kinds. He has no field for agriculture, no forests, no pasture and no job to survive. He grazed small number of live stock on the fields of other people. He had one flour mill beside the stream which was washed away by flood. He took short term loan from bank and reconstructed it forthwith because it was the source of income for survival of the family. SRSP gave him a grant of Rs. 15000 which he refunded to concerned Bank as 1st installment of the loan taken from the Bank. He conceived it financial backup from SRSP in reimbursement of the loan. The flour mill is now functional and considerable income was gained in the month of July and August when wheat was harvested. Mr. Zakaria said that Rs. 27000 is earned normally from this mill. He further told that he was not expert to install the machinery, so he hired a man for this work and he paid him Rs. 40000 for installation of flour mill besides actual expenses incurred on purchase of major and minor parts of the flour mill including Rs. 12000 as cost of two grindstones, Rs. 8000 as cost of one turbine made from apricot wood, Rs. 6000 as  cost of one wooden penstock of 20 ft, Rs. 5000 as cost of a hopper with bushel besides construction cost of channel, construction cost of tail-race, construction cost of wall etc. Within a shortest period of one month the flour mill was made functional.

Dinar Khan a poor man of 65 years has been living in Brun since his childhood. He has a large family of 12 people including 2 disabled sons of 8 and 12 years respectively. As a small farmer he has been working on his farms of 4 acre with his other two sons of strong and sturdy with powerful muscles in cultivation of different crops, growing fruits particularly traditional apples of small sizes, exotic variety of peaches and grapes of special kinds. He also keeps livestock which include 2 cows, 1 donkey, 10 sheep, and 8 goats besides poultry birds of reasonable quantity for domestic use and to entertain guests. He has one furnished room for guests and other 3 rooms including one room reserved for storage purpose. The entire rooms are made with local bricks and stone masonry wall at the foundation. Instead of plain ceiling, wooden pillars, traditional rafter covered by thatch have been used. Bucket wash room has been made separately for guests. This type of houses is considered weather friendly in this valley. When the area becomes colder in winter the rooms become warmer and similarly when the area becomes warmer in June and July the rooms become colder.  Rooms change its temperature with the changing of weather. Construction is cost effective, so poor people prefer to have such types of houses.

Mr. Dinar Khan has a flour mill nearby his home which was reconstructed just after it was devastated by flood. Now it is functional and grinding the grains day and night. Compensation of grinding is fixed unanimously by the owners of the flour mills which have been mentioned above. SRSP supported him with a grant of Rs. 15000.

Mr. Hydayatur Rehman has one wife and one disabled son with no landed property at all except a dilapidated shelter comprising 2 rooms of local materials. He has a small cattle pen where he keeps one cow, 4 sheep and 4 goats for domestic requirements like milk, wool, hide etc which he used in making of local carpet and rugs after each four years. All domestic requirements are fulfilled from the income gained from the flour mill. Mr. Hidayatur Rehman with pale and deadly face meekly said that his life revolves round that flour mill which was again and again ransacked by flood and again and again constructed by him. He has been contending with the nature since his childhood because he has no alternative resources to support his family. He saved a reasonable amount from the earning on monthly basis and keeps to meet the expected sufferings and disasters. When he was asked about any financial support made by the govt. or by any development agencies working in the district, he said except Allah no one supported him in the days of fear and suffering. God almighty bestowed him courage to reconstruct his flour mill just after the recede of flood utilizing the savings made earlier.

Mr. Shere Muhammad is a head of small family comprising 4 individuals who was injured financially when the flood washed his flour mill out from the scene completely last year. Without waiting for help from any sources he constructed it again and made it functional. Though he is an old man of 45 years but he has strong nerve to undergo situations more drastic and severe than the flood which ruined and cleaned out their entire belongings from the surface. Mr. Shere Muhammad has one wife of 38 years, one son and one daughter of 25 and 20 years respectively. Besides the income gained from the flour mill they also earn substantial income from manual labor which they undertake regularly in the village. During harvesting, both the male and female members are engaged in work on the fields. Male members harvest the crop with locally made sickles and females collect the stalk dispersed throughout the stubble in unorganized form to make sheaves crawling behind them on compensatory basis. Mr. Shere Muhammad has no property except a piece of land where a house comprising two rooms and one cattle pen surrounded by a boundary wall are standing. He has a milk giving cow, 4 sheep; four goats which are utilized to full fill the domestic requirements. The family is vulnerable need financial assistance to restore the flour mill which is conceived the source of livelihood in this valley.

Mr. Khalil- ur- Rehman has a family of 7 people comprising his one wife, 3 sons and 2 daughters. They are leading miserable lives in this valley.  Flour mill is only source through which the family is supported. Mr. Khalil-ur Rehman constructed his flour mill just after the retreat of flood. About ½ acre is available at the site of the stream where wheat is cultivated. After harvesting the wheat, maize is cultivated but this crop could not reap properly. It is used as fodder for his one cow, 5 goats and 7 sheep during winter when they are stabled at home.  Straw of the wheat is also used as fodder which is stored in barn constructed for the purpose adjacent to the cattle pens. Mr. Khalil- ur- Rehman has not been provided any financial assistance during the days of sufferings. Besides the income obtained from the flour mill additional income is also achieved from overtime labour being carried out with other people. 

There is a widow living beside the stream in this valley. Shere Muhammad was her husband who died 6 years back leaving behind 2 sons and four daughters orphan. She has no property for cultivation of crops and vegetables except a flour mill which was functional from the death of her husband till last year when the heavy flood engulfed it completely. One portion of her house also damaged when speedy flood hit it but it was reconstructed by the people on humanitarian basis forthwith. Flour mill was reconstructed after two months when flood receded completely. During this period the family passed miserable life because the source of its livelihood was stopped functioning. She took loan from the people and supported her family till her flour mill was reconstructed. She keeps one cow for milk and 6 sheep for wool which she uses in making warm suitor and warm socks for her children in winter. Her entire children are uneducated but they are healthy. They support her mother in livestock rearing and in other household chores.

No substantial money used in reconstruction of the flour mill. Because the important parts of the mill including grindstones, penstock, turbine and hopper were protected from flood. The channel was repaired by the people besides installation of the machinery, provision of minor items, and construction of walls and plastering of roof which were also materialized by the community on free of cost basis.

Breakup of monthly income gained from traditional flour mills located in Kalash valley (Bumburate)

S/No

Name of mill owners

 individuals in the house

Disabled

 flour Mills damaged

Expected income/m

Other sources of income

1

Abdul Khaliq

9

9

1

27000

Nill

2

Dinar

12

2

1

27000

Nill

3

Zakaria

8

1

1

27000

Nill

4

Hidayat

2

1

1

27000

Nill

5

Sher Muhammad

4

0

1

27000

Nill

6

Khalil ur rehman

7

0

1

27000

Nill

7

Ahmad Baig

11

1

1

27000

Nill

8

Farid

4

1

1

27000

Nill

9

W/Shere Muhammad

6

0

1

27000

Nill

Total

63

15

9

243000

                                                                                                                                                  Source: interview from the mill owners

  Conclusion

The whole wheat flour ground in one’s own chakki is any cost superior to, and cheaper than, the fine flour to be made by the electric machine in the bazars. It is cheaper because the cost of grinding is saved.  Again, in the whole-wheat flour there is no loss of weight. In fine flour there is loss of weight. The richest part of wheat is contained in its bran. There is a terrible loss of nutrition when the bran of wheat is removed. The villagers and others who eat whole- wheat flour ground in their own chakkis save their money and, what is more important, their health.

The mills are located at the doorsteps of each household which could be supervised even by the female when their male counter parts are involved in other activities. The traditional flour mills are cost effective, demand driven and easy to approach. People prefer to grind their grain by traditional machine rather going to machines run by the electricity. It is the home based business run by the women folk in the valley. The recent flood disturbed the earning capacity of the women by destroying the entire flour mills existing along the river.  Loss of Rs. 243000 in one month  of the 9 mill owners which make Rs.2916000 in a year is a great financial loss occurred in the valley which need addressed by  any NGO working in rehabilitation and disaster management sectors in the area.  Though the mill owners have restored their mills on temporary basis using the old wood, the old thatch and the old system scarcely taking loan from those who have money on condition of commitment of labor or from the bank on the basis of markup, but it is not the solution, they need these mill properly structured safe in all respect from flood and other natural calamities. The affected people of the valley expressed great concerned during the visit of the UNHCR team of the valley. They requested the team to initiate measures on immediate basis to restore their flour mills which they considered the perennial source of their income rather other development interventions.

Suggestions/Recommendations

The affected mill owners of the valley may be assisted financially to restore their mills as proper standard and repay the loan if any mill owner has taken from the wealthy people and commercial banks for restoration of the flour mills.

Measure to preserve the primitive and low cost traditional milling process in the remote village such as kalash valleys be made so that the people could get digestible food without removing husk and bran layer which is usually undertaken in machines.

As  mills are constructed one after another along the river coming down from a considerable height to maintain the pressure of water and velocity to run the turbine, protective walls and ramparts need to be built to protect them from devastation.