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CM to open work on Swat Motorway today

CM to open work on Swat Motorway today

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak will inaugurate the Rs41 billion Swat Motorway on Thursday.

Officials told Dawn that the chief minister was likely to perform the groundbreaking of the project at two places, first at the Karnal Sher Khan Interchange on Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway and later in Chakdara.

Spokesman for the provincial government Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani and adviser for communication and works Akbar Ayub told reporters at the Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday that the Swat Motorway project was a milestone for KP development.

Special assistant for livestock Muhibullah Khan was also present on the occasion.

Mr. Ghani said detractors claimed the PTI government in the province didn’t initiate any mega development project but that claim was wrong.

“During the initial two years, we (PTI government) focused our attention on the improvement of social sector to the relief of the people by initiating reform initiatives in health and education sectors. We met the shortage of over 2.1 million chairs in government schools. “Now, we’re focusing on mega projects. The current is the year of development projects,” he said.

Adviser Akbar Ayub said the Swat Motorway was the largest project of the province’s history.

He said KP was the first province to construct a motorway from own resources.

Mr. Ayub said the project would cost the provincial kitty Rs41 billion, including land price, and that of the amount, Rs36 billion would be spent on construction and the rest on land procurement.

He said the motorway would be 81 kilometers long starting from the Karnal Sher Khan Interchange on Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway in Swabi district and ending in Chakdara area.

The adviser also said two tunnels each of one and half kilometers length would be constructed in Malakand to cut the labour of traversing around 14 kilometers long Malakand Pass.

He said the project would be completed in a record time of 18 months and that currently, the KP government had released Rs11.5 billion for the first six months of the project.

Mr. Ayub said the government took six months to complete the project’s details and bidding process and that once competitive process was over, it was awarded to the Frontier Works Organisation, which would execute the construction of the motorway.

He said the project would be a game changer for the entire region and would lead to the rapid development in all backward districts through which it passed.

The adviser said the project would significantly reduce the current three hours distance between Karnal Sher Khan Interchange and Chakdara to 50 minutes.

He said the project’s contract was awarded to the FWO under the Public-Private Partnership Act.

“We called for the expression of interest, while the FWO and other companies applied for the project. After the competitive bidding, it won the project’s contract,” he said.

Mr. Ayub said six interchanges would be built along the road.

He said the easy access of travel provided by the motorway would also increase tourism in Swat and other areas of Malakand division.

He said the only road leading to the area was badly crowded and the region was in great need of a new infrastructure.

Mr. Ghani regretted the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to declare Baldev Kumar the returning candidate on minority seat in the provincial assembly.

He said the seat had fallen vacant after the murder of PTI lawmaker Sardar Soran Singh. Currently, Baldev Kumar is behind bars on charge of Soran Singh murder.

Mr. Ghani said the government would approach the court of law to stop Baldev from assuming Soran Singh’s seat.

“Both the opposition and treasury members on the same page on the issue,” he said, adding that they would not allow him to take oath.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2016

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