CHITRAL: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will arrive in Chitral on Thursday (today) to inaugurate the Lowari Tunnel.
According to Member National Assembly Iftikharuddin, the prime minister would inaugurate the Lowari Tunnel and other mega projects in the district.
He will also address a public gathering at polo ground in Chitral, he added. Work on the Lowari Tunnel project resumed during the tenure of General Pervez Musharraf in 2005 but the project faced lack of funding issue during the five-year tenure of the Pakistan People’s Party from 2008 to 2013.
The incumbent government allocated about Rs23 billion for the mega project to complete the work.
The work on Lowari tunnel project started in Sept 2005 and it was to be completed by Sept 2008, but its completion period was extended after its conversion to a road tunnel in 2009.
The tunnel will reduce the current 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar by 50 per cent. Moreover, people of Chitral have to travel through Afghanistan and then enter back into Pakistan during the winter season when Lowari Top is closed for traffic.
The tunnel is located on Nowshera-Mardan-Malakand-Chakdara-Chitral National Highway (N-45). It was completed at a cost of about Rs27 billion.
Inauguration of the main 8.5km-long tunnel and a secondary tunnel of 1.9km will provide all-weather connectivity to Chitral with the rest of the country.
A Korean construction company has constructed the tunnel.
Chitral remains virtually inaccessible during winter and the tunnel will facilitate all-weather transportation.