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Winter blues: Koreans, NHA resisting opening of tunnel

CHITRAL, Nov 7: As the Lowari top road was closed for traffic due to the snowfall, it has been learnt that both the Korean construction company Sambu and the National Highway Authority (NHA) are resisting opening of the tunnel for the stranded passengers for more than one day a week, that too for a limited number of hours. lowariSources here said the Koreans and the NHA were of the view that they cannot afford disruption in their ongoing work inside the tunnel by opening the passageway for the public during working hours every day. They were saying that the tunnel should be opened for one day every week. One day a week for traffic going out of Chitral and one day for the incoming traffic in the alternate week. On the other hand, people here have severely criticized the elected representatives of Chitral, especially the MNA and MPA from upper Chitral, who got votes in the name of former president Pervez Musharraf only for the construction of the Lowari tunnel but failed to ensure opening of the tunnel in winter on time. During a visit to a number of hotels and the bus terminals here by this correspondent, the Chitralis said the elected representatives should have made it sure well in advance by holding talks with the authorities concerned that the under-construction tunnel was opened the moment the Lowari top road closed due to snowfall. Everyone knows very well that with the drop of rain in winter the Lowari top road can close without informing the MNA and the MPA. They said that it was very unfortunate that both the MNA and teh MPA were sitting in Islamabad without concerns for the suffering and stranded Chitralis and one of hem issued a statement to the press demanding opening of the tunnel for three hours. “If they are unable to meet the prime minister, why they do not bother to at least approach the federal minister concerned to get the tunnel open for the public,” they asked. The residents of Chitral demanded that the PTI provincial government should approach the federal government to immediately open the tunnel for at least four to five hours a day so that the people of Chitral can move in and out of the valley without  any trouble in winter.]]>

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  1. Javed Karim says

    This year the snow fell early and it should be removed by the contractor company instead of opening the tunnel. The Lowari top road usually remains open till end of December so there is no need of disrupting the ongoing work inside the tunnel. A little patience will brings long-lasting benefit to us.

  2. Remat Wali Khan says

    No one should be criticized for closure of lowari tunnel. We should be realistic and accept the fact that work has started in Lowari tunnel after long delays and slow progress during the PPP rule. The NHA and Koreans both are working efficiently in order to complete the tunnel in time.
    Closure of road access or tunnel during winters means lots of suffering , inflation and many other problems for the people of Chitral, but at the same time opening the tunnel for 8 hours on daily basis means, partially or completely halting the development work going on, halting work on completion of tunnel will further increase cost of the project as time. It means that if the tunnel is opened for public during winters , it will affect the progress on tunnel completion.
    We are in difficult situation. The Tunnel also lacks electricity , proper air and exhaust systems, we should not forget that last year 2 people died because of suffocation in tunnel.
    An alternate to the tunnel can be
    1. Increasing PIA flights to Chitral along with army’s C130 flights operations (the ticket price should be reduced).
    2. Negotiation with Afghan government and approval for using Afghanistan’s route while travelling to and from Peshawar. Roads have been constructed and well developed on Afghan side and people can travel on a clean safe route rather taking risk of passing through an unfinished tunnel where there is always risk of rocks falling and suffocation?
    Instead of criticizing anyone we all should be realistic, realize that Lowari Tunnel is vital for us and it should be completed in time so that we get its full benefits. At the same time, we should think about opening other ways for travel to and from other parts of mainland Pakistan.

  3. Ahad says

    Your logic is perfect! Since President Musharraf played such a prominent role in building the tunnel everyone associated with him should be criticized for the Lowari being closed in winter. A good class in logic would improve the quality of your writing. Yes, we should criticize everyone, the federal government, the provincial government, the elected representatives, the district administration, the security institutions and the national highway body and the media which is so ineffectual. Everyone has a role in keeping the tunnel open but no one listens, it seems.

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