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Property prices in Chitral on the rise even before completion of Lowari Tunnel

Every winter, due heavy snowfall and extreme weather, Chitral used to become totally cut-off from the rest of the country for five or more months at a time. chitralDuring that time, the people of Chitral were forced to travel through Afghanistan to reach other parts of Pakistan and back, as there was no accessible land route connecting the district to other parts of the country. As a solution, The government of Pakistan began the construction of the 8.5km-long Lowari Tunnel in 2005, to help alleviate these problems of the people. Now confidently underway, when completed, it will offer an all-weather, shorter passage, connecting the remote Chitral Valley to the rest of the world. The construction, expected to be completed by 2017, heralds an era of far-reaching economic, social, cultural and political changes for the whole of the Hindu Kush region. After its completion, the present 14-hour drive from Chitral to Peshawar will be reduced by an astounding 50%, effectively changing the life of many local to the area. Naturally, the citizens of Chitral, and the large percentage of commuters that will benefit from its completion, are extremely happy with this initiative and its attributed positive impact on the economy. Most recently, in the wake of the soon-to-be completed passage, the land prices in Chitral have risen steeply. A local property dealer told ChitralToday that before the construction work on the tunnel began the cost of one “chukorum” (11,664 square feet) was between Rs.0.5 million and Rs.0.8 million. But now in anticipation of completion and this September’s International Property Exposition, listing prices have jumped upwards of Rs.8 million on local real estate sites Lamudi and Property Asia. Ultimately, as the Lowari Tunnel will also connect with the Central Asian Republics via the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan, Chitral has an increasingly bright future and could soon be converted into a thriving local business hub. Along with the increase in property values across the area, and the flood of new business, we can also expect a new stream of available jobs to be created for the locals through increased trade. Providing improved market access for local products such as fruit, vegetables, medicinal herbs, marbles and precious stones, this new route gives Chitral the potential to develop into a year-round destination for tourists in particular during the autumn season. With the majority of local tourists and visitors currently frequenting the region from May through November, the Tunnel’s construction will now provide winter access to both commodities and rare natural wildlife such as the leopard and markhor. Additionally, overlooked benefits also include the increased need for major energy resources such as electricity and gas, which will now be supplied to Chitral district through the tunnel. In summation, the construction of Lowari Tunnel, has already had a positive, direct, impact on the region in the form of increased land prices. Providing a direct link, and helping to tie together the local communities in the area, it is literally paving the way toward a brighter economic and touristic future for the ever-developing country. Once completed, it will undoubtedly solidify a much-needed positive injection that will trickle through and greatly impact the economic development of Chitral.]]>

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