An APP Feature by Fakhar e Alam
PESHAWAR May 14 (APP): The plans of the Federal Government to connect
the inaccessible and remote areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata through state of the art motorways, highways and roads network was heading towards great success as construction work on three gigantic communication projects has entered into last stage that would be completed by end of this year.
The National Highway Authority (NHA) as per directions of Prime Minister
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to provide quality communication facilities to people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata has expedited efforts to complete work on the three ongoing mega communication projects including Lowari tunnel costing Rs26billion, Peshawar Northern Bypass worth Rs21 billion and Hazara Motorway costing Rs 22.1 billion to make it operational by December 2017.
These federal government funded projects are gift of Prime Minister
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata that upon completion would not only connect the far flung and inaccessible areas of northern KP with rest of the country but would help generate employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people besides promoting tourism, business and industrialization in these areas.
Muhammad Ibrahim, Project Director Lowari Tunnel Project told APP that
work on Lowari Tunnel had been entered into last stage of its completion and the Prime Minister would be requested to inaugurate it next month.
He said work had been completed on 8.5 Km (Main Tunnel) and 1.9
kilometers Tunnel (Short Tunnel) besides four bridges, link roads whereas pavement of 14 kilometers approach road on both sides of tunnel was almost completed.
The PD said Rs21 billion against project’s total cost of Rs26 billion
has been spent so far and 94 percent work has been completed so far.
“All kind of vehicular traffic would pass through tunnels with 24 feet
width and 16 feet height round the clock including harsh winter season with 40 kilometer speed,” he explained.
Chitral remains virtually in accessible during winter and the tunnel
remains closed during harsh winter season due to heavy snowfall, disconnecting people of Chitral from rest of the country. Upon its completion, over 500,000 population of Chitral would benefit from the longest tunnel of Pakistan.
The project saw many ups and downs during last four decades, including
change in the main design. Practical work on the project which started in September 2005 was supposed to be completed by 2008 as per its original PC-1 of Rs 9 billion. The completion time of the project was extended when the then government had decided to convert it into a road tunnel in 2009 rather than the rail tunnel as per the original plan.
For the first time, work on the tunnel began in 1975 but it was stopped
in 1977 after change of the government on the pretext of lack of funds and other development priorities and the work did not resume until September 2005.
Work on the road tunnel continued slowly owing to multiple reasons
including paucity of funds, issues over funds release between the client and consultants and prolonged winter season.
The PML-N government after coming to power had approved additional funds
for Lowari Tunnel to ensure its completion as early as possible and this timely decision was proving very successful.
Ibrahim said 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 have been released by present elected government of PML-N for Lowari Tunnel that immensely helped in completion of the project.
The Project Director said upon fully operational, the tunnel would
reduce the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar to only seven hours. “Normally a bus driver was spending two and half hours on Lowari Top before reaching Chitral and with construction of the tunnel would spend only 20 minutes to reach Chitral,” he added.
Another important federally funded project currently in progress with
help of National Highway Authority was also heading towards success in KP.
Muhammad Ishaq, Project Director Northern By Pass Peshawar told APP that
work on this mega Federal Government funded road project was in full swing that would be completed by December this year.
Terming it a gift of PML-N Government to people of KP and FATA, he said
this project of 25.2 kilometers length costing Rs21billion would connect people of FATA especially Khyber, Mohmand and Bajaur Agencies with M-I Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway besides bolstering trade and business activities here.
“The project is being completed in three phases against which work on
the first package ie Motorway-Charsadda Road with 7.6kms length has been already completed whereas work on Charsadda Road to Warsak Road under package-II of 11.9km was in progress. Whereas 30 pc work on Warsak Road to Nasar Bagh (Section-A) 5.38km and Nasir Bagh to Jamrud Khyber Agency (Section-II) 7.32kms would be completed by end of this year,” he said.
With completion of this project, not only FATA and KP would get access
to Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway and onward linking it to CPEC route but would also provide regional connectivity to Central Asian Republics (CARs) to promote their trade and business through Gwadar and Karachi ports, earning valuable foreign exchange for Pakistan.
Another key project of Federal Government for people of KP that would be
completed this year is 60 kilometers long Hazara Motorway of which over 60pc work has been completed.
General Manager, Hazara Motorway,Â Jehangir Ahmed told APP that
construction work on the six lanes Hazara Motorway was in full swing as more thanÂ 60 percent work on it has been completed and efforts were underway to make it fully operational by December this year.
The GM said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was taking keen interest in
Hazara Motorway and personally visited the site on several occasions, which reflect his deep commitment and affection for development of people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“We are working day and night to complete this mega project ahead of
schedule time of December 2017,” he said, adding China and Zakir Khan Brothers (ZKB) are constructing this project in three different phases to ensure its quick completion.
The GM said the motorway is being constructedÂ from Hasanabdal (Burhan)
to Havelian at a cost of about Rs22.1 billion, adding the project was divided into three sections to ensure its early completion as instructed by the Prime Minister. Under package-I, 70 percent work from Burhan to Jharikas section has been completed and Rs7.3billion would be spent on completion of this 20 kilometers long section.
Under package-II, he said sixty percent work on Jharikas to Sarai Saleh
has been completed and about Rs6.7billion would be spent on completion of this 20 kilometers long section.
The GM disclosed that work on Sarai Saleh-Havelian section was also
underway with full swing as 50 percent work on it has been completed and this section would be completed with an estimated cost of Rs8.1billion.
As many as 13 small and large flyovers-cum-bridges are being constructed
at various points, rivers, water courses on package-I, 13 flyovers/bridges on package-II and 10 flyovers and bridges on package-III besides 5 interchanges on Hazara Motorway.
The GM said this project would open up Hazara for investment and
business besides onward linkage to China-Pakistan Economic Coordinator Project (CPEC) at Havelian.
These projects upon completion would help bring massive foreign
investment, generate employment opportunities, promotes trade and industrialization besides opening a new chapter of progress and prosperity in KP and Fata.