The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has allocated Rs3 billion from the public sector development programme (PDSP) to complete the Lowari Tunnel in Chitral, stated a notification issued by the CM Secretariat on Monday.
Work on the tunnel began in 2006 in order to facilitate the people of Chitral to travel to the rest of the country. However, it is yet to be completed due to insufficient funds allocated by the federal government.
When construction began in 2006, the 8.5-kilometre long railway tunnel was to be built at an estimated cost of Rs8 billion. Digging for the tunnel was completed by 2009, but its design was later revised from rail to road tunnel, resulting in further delays and escalating costs. The revised cost was then estimated to be Rs18 billion.
From the current federal PSDP, the government initially allocated Rs1 billion for the project; this amount was not well received by the K-P Assembly. During its budget session, the house through a unanimous resolution demanded the centre to allocate Rs4 billion to the tunnel so it could be completed.
Keeping in mind the difficulties faced by the people of the region while travelling, the K-P government has now decided to transfer Rs3 billion from its share of the PSDP to finish the project.
Meanwhile, during a meeting at the CM Secretariat on Monday, K-P Chief Minister (CM) Pervez Khattak directed divisional and deputy commissioners (DCs) from across the province to take tangible steps to control price hikes, smuggling, hoarding, and encroachments, and to improve the traffic system by August 15.
The CM said action should be taken against food adulteration and inflation during Ramazan. He instructed price reviewing committees be formed under the supervision of commissioners and DCs to keep prices of daily use items under control.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2013.