People of Chitral laud PM leadership for completing much awaited Lowari Tunnel


CHITRAL July 20 (APP): The long awaited Lowari Tunnel project, on which the development works remained suspended from time to time due to various reasons during the last four decades, was finally completed by the sitting government during its four years tenure and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif here on Thursday.
The inauguration of the tunnel created widespread jubilations among residents of Chitral who raised the slogans of “Qadam Bharo Nawaz Sharif Hum Tumhara Sath Hain, Long Live Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Zindabaad”.
They also raised national and PML-N flags with full throated slogans in favour of Prime Minister during his address to people of Chitral and Upper Dir districts.
The 8.5kilometers long main tunnel and 1.9 KM small tunnel of Lowari Tunnel besides 35 kilometers access roads and 12 bridges were completed at cost of about Rs.27 billion.
The project would provide safe and uninterrupted connectivity to people of Chital with rest of the country throughout the year.
Lowari Tunnel project saw many ups and downs during last four decades and remained incomplete due to lackluster approaches of the past governments.
For the first time, work on the tunnel began in 1975 but stopped in 1977 after change of the government and excuse of unavailability of funds landing the project in cold storage until September 2005.
Practical work on the project resumed in September 2005 and was supposed to be completed by 2008 as per its original PC-1 of Rs 9 billion.
The completion time of the project was further extended when the then government had decided to change its’ design and convert it into a road tunnel in 2009 rather than the rail tunnel as per the original plan.
Work on the road tunnel continued on snail pace owing to multiple reasons including paucity of funds, dispute on release of funds between the client and consultants and prolonged winter season.
The PML-N government after coming to power in 2013 had approved additional funds for Lowari Tunnel that helped its completion today.
M. Ibrahim, project director Lowari Tunnel told APP that the sitting PML-N Government released over Rs 13billion including Rs 2 billion in 2013-14, Rs3 billion in 2014-15, Rs4 billion in 2015-16 and Rs4 billion in 2016-17 for Lowari Tunnel that immensely helped in completion of the project.
The tunnel will cut short the current 14-hour long drive from Chitral to Peshawar to seven hours.
Normally a bus driver was spending two and half hours on Lowari Top before reaching Chitral and after opening of Lowari Tunnel it would consume only 20 minutes to reach Chitral from Lowari Top.
All kind of vehicular traffic would pass through 24 feet wide and 16 feet high tunnels round the clock including in harsh winter season at a speed of 40 kilometer,” he explained.
The people of Chitral highly eulogized the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for completing work on the much awaited Lowari Tunnel and thanked him for quick release of funds for it.
Gul Hamad, a local journalist and Aziz Chitrali a social worker told APP that Prime Minister deserves full credit and appreciation for competing the project on priority basis, adding that without the keen interest of PM Nawaz Sharif the project was a mere dream for Chitrali people.
They said Chitral remained virtually in accessible during winter as Lowari Top remained closed during harsh winter season for four to five months due to heavy snowfall, disconnecting people of Chitral from rest of the country and Lowari Tunnel was a lone hope for people of Chitral.
They said over 500,000 population of Chitral would benefit from the longest tunnel of Pakistan throughout the year.
Nawaz Sharif Kidney Hospital Swat, Lowari Tunnel, Peshawar Northern Bypass, Takhtbhai Flyover in Mardan and Hazara Motorway were gifts of Prime Minister for people of Khyber Pakthunkhwa.
PML-N was the only party serving masses with dedication and commitment rather than making hallow slogans like other political parties and were making new Khyber Pakthunkhwa.