Chitral—Engr Amir Muqam, Adviser to the Prime Minister, Sunday said the long-awaited Lowari Tunnel project on Nowshera-Chitral Highway (N-45) would be completed by March next year before nine months of its December 2017 deadline as directed by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
There was no hurdle, including provision of funds, in the completion of the tunnel according to the new deadline, he added.
Amir Muqam was talking to newsmen during his visit to see the ongoing work on the Lowari Tunnel project.
The project, which includes two tunnels of 8.6 and 1.9 kilometres respectively, besides four bridges, will cost around Rs 27 billion.
National Highway Authority (NHA) officials and people from different walks of life were also present on the occasion.
The Advisor said the project after its completion would bring prosperity for the people of Chitral as they would remain directly connected with the rest of the country throughout the year. They would not have to travel via Afghanistan during the winter season when the Lowari Top remained closed, he added.
Now Chitral remained virtually inaccessible during the winter but the completion of the tunnel would facilitate all-weather transport from the down country, ensuring easy availability of edibles items, he remarked.
Moreover, he said, the tunnel would reduce the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar by half.
He said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif wanted early completion of the project, that was why he was taking personal interest. The Prime Minister, he said, was very keen to provide all facilities to the people of Chitral like those in the rest of the country.
The Advisor said serving the masses was the mission of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government, which it would continue without any discrimination. It had taken a number of measures to improve the living standard of deprived segments of the society. Billions of rupees were being spent the welfare of the poor and downtrodden, he added.
He said Chakdara-Chitral and Chitral-Gilgit roads would also be constructed which would help promote tourism in the area. Work on a feasibility report of a road linking Chitral with Central Asia states via Afghanistan was also underway, he added.
The Advisor directed the NHA to complete all ongoing development projects, including Lowari Tunnel within stipulated time period. He also lauded NHA Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar and his team for their efforts to complete many road projects of national importance.