<![CDATA[By Zulfiqar Ahmad ISLAMABAD, Jan 21: The people of Chitral have been conveyed in unequivocal terms to be ready for ‘pre-Lowari tunnel opening era’ as the tunnel will be closed permanently throughout next year (2015) by the National Highway Authority (NHA). “The Lowari Tunnel will not be opened even for a ‘single minute’ next year due to heavy construction work to be carried out inside the tunnel,” secretary communication Mohammad Arshad Khan told the National Assembly standing committee on communication in Islamabad on Tuesday. The panel which met here with MNA Sufyan Yusuf in the chair was also briefed about the three-hour opening of the tunnel for travellers twice a week on the directives of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. The committee was told that snowfall was so heavy on the Lowari top that it was not possible to keep the track open. The officials of the communication ministry informed the committee that the district administration Chitral had been informed about the closure of the tunnel so that they could store edible items for the remaining winter season. However, they admitted that the district administration did not bother and this was the reason the people could be seen staging protests demonstrations to keep the tunnel open for eight hours on a daily basis which was impossible. Sheikh Aftab Ahmed, state minister for parliamentary affairs, said that a comprehensive report would be submitted to the prime minister within the next few days, adding the premier was expected to take important decision to expedite the work on the tunnel. He said that the delay in completing the mega project was due to the unavailability of funds, adding Rs4 billions were required on a yearly basis to complete the mega project in 2017. Meanwhile, people belonging to different walks of life said the closure of the tunnel will certainly remind the staunch critics who were busy in negating the services rendered by former President Gen Pervez Musharraf for Chitral. Teri Yaad Aayi Terei Janei Kei Baad…stay tuned to futile protests in 2015, they remarked.]]>
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