‘Game-changing’ Swat Motorway inaugurated

CM Khattak says project will be completed by the end of 2017

Sohail Khattak August 25, 2016
CM Khattak says project will be completed by the end of 2017. PHOTO SOURCE: DEFENCE.PK

PESHAWAR: The Swat Motorway project was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Thursday. It is the first major road of this nature being constructed by a provincial government.

The CM laid the groundwork for the project at the Swabi and Chakdara portions of the motorway and inaugurated the project at Colonel Sher Khan Interchange.

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The Pakistan Army’s construction wing, the Frontier Works Organization (FWO), was handed the project under a public-private partnership. The project, costing Rs40 billion, will be completed by December 2017 and will be a four-lane motorway which can be extended to six lanes in future.

The 81-kilometre road starts from Colonel Sher Khan Interchange on the M-1 and passes through Swabi and Mardan to end in Chakdara.

Two kilometres of the motorway will pass through Nowshera, 18 kilometres through Swabi, 40 kilometres through Mardan and 21 kilometres through Malakand. The road will be 80 metres wide and will reduce a three-hour travel time to just 45 minutes.

The motorway will have a two-kilometre-long tunnel at the Ala Dhand and Palai areas, while interchanges will exist at Dhobian, Ismaila, Bakhshalay, Katlang, Palai and Chakdara.

The chief minister, while addressing the inauguration ceremony in Swabi, said that the government had already purchased land worth Rs5 billion for the project in 2015 and construction would cost Rs35 billion.

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“We will provide Rs11.5 billion to FWO in 2016 and Rs6 billion in 2017, while the remainder would be generated from the toll tax of the road. The motorway will be with the FWO for 25 years and the organisation will also maintain it.”

Khattak said his government will construct and operate the Peshawar metro bus project which will cost Rs32 billion.

Low expectations

The CM said the federal government had ousted K-P from CPEC projects. However, the provincial government took up the matter and made some noise after which the federal government agreed to build a motorway between Peshawar to DI Khan which will be four lanes and have railway tracks along it, he added.

“We don't expect anything from the prime minister, but he should fulfil his own promise of building the Chakdara to Mingora Motorway—something he vowed on his visit to Swat,” Khattak said.

From the builders

Earlier, FWO Director General Major General Muhammad Afzal shed light on the project’s benefits and its importance to the areas which will be linked by the motorway.

He said Swat had faced troubled times due to terrorism, but the Pakistan Army managed to wipe out the enemy.

“We are seeing good days in Swat. The completion of the motorway will bring a revolution to the transport sector of the area. It will help promote tourism and between 15,000 and 20,000 vehicles will use it daily,” he said. Afzal highlighted projects completed by FWO and vowed to finish the Swat Motorway before the stipulated time period.

Siraj bashes Centre

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq lashed out at the federal government for ignoring K-P in development projects. He accused the Centre of limiting itself to just Punjab. “It increases the sense of deprivation and spawns hatred, thus pushing provinces towards separation.”

He said K-P has the potential of generating 41,000 megawatts of electricity at a cost of only Rs2 per unit, but the federal government is pushing for expensive electricity. He cited the example of Sahiwal Coal Project, which he claimed would cost Rs29 per unit.

He said K-P has the potential to attract several tourists. He pointed out that the situation was still bleak in places like Chitral and Shandur where people are deprived.

He called for the construction of a 900-kilometre road from Peshawar to Chitral and Shandur and leading up to China and Tajikistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2016.


jamshed kharian-pak | 7 years ago | Reply Excellent News towards comfort, wellbeing prosperity open up and stand firm Pakistanis after hard work Kishmish is guaranteed!
kpk | 7 years ago | Reply @awais.dear making rules is no tough job.we have better and strict rules for all sorts of problems .Implementation is the key in which pti gov has failed.why not visit kpk yourself and see it and khattak and few of his close allys in the kpk gov are extremly corrupt. Pti always criticises pmln for doing nothing but to be true this time they have done better than any other gov.
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