CHITRAL: The National Highway Authority (NHA) is not committing funds for construction of Rs8 billion Chitral-Garam Chasha road and various roads in Kalash valleys costing Rs4 billion despite the fact that tendering process has already been completed.
A source in NHA, requesting not to be named, said the two road projects had been approved by the previous government and work was to be started on them during the current season but it had been delayed by the NHA putting their fate at the disposal of the upcoming government in the centre.
He said with the exit of PML-N government, all the road projects, including Chitral-Shandur road, Oveer-Terich road and the first phase of the Chitral-Chakdara road had been shelved by the NHA, which were in different preliminary stages ranging from feasibility study to designing.
“Even the interior finishing work of Lowari tunnel has been put on hold which had undergone tendering process,” the source said, adding that the cost of work was estimated at Rs14 billion.
However, he said work on the approach roads leading to the tunnel on both sides would continue.
He said the NHA high-ups feared paucity of funds for the road projects during the execution process under the new government.
When contacted, former MNA from Chitral Shahzada Iftikharuddin said he was unaware about the development. However, he said it would be unfortunate for the people of Chitral if the road projects were shelved or delayed. He hoped that the upcoming prime minister Imran Khan would not shelve the projects.
The former lawmaker, who had strived for the projects, said the absence of road infrastructure was the main hurdle in exploitation of hydle power potential and boosting the tourism sector in the district.–Zahiruddin