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New road project to revive trade with Central Asia: governor

LANDI KOTAL, March 17: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan on Monday performed the groundbreaking of the 28km Mattani-Takhta Beg Road and said the artery would help ease traffic on Peshawar roads.

The Rs1 billion contract for the construction of dual carriage has been awarded to the Frontier Works Organisation. Work on the project is scheduled to be completed in one year.

Addressing the ceremony organised at the lap of Besai Ghar (hill) on Shah Kas road near Bara, the governor said the long-awaited road project was of vital economic and development importance for the people of Khyber Agency as it would help revive historical and traditional trading links with neighbouring Afghanistan and Central Asian States via the Khyber Pass.

Recalling his students days when he traveled to Iran and Afghanistan by road, the governor said he remembered when foreign tourists both men and women used to travel via the Khyber Pass without fear and intimidation and that the activity was a major source of income for local residents.

“This new road will not only provide local residents with a better road network and other related facilities but will also prove to be major economic corridor, which will bring prosperity in the region,” he said.

Stressing the need for peace for economic development, the governor called upon tribesmen to learn a lesson from their recent past and try to stop tribal youths from involvement in unproductive and anti-state activities.

“I can say it for sure that keeping in mind the resolve of the government and the way our brave soldiers have continued their fight against terrorists in Fata in general and in Khyber Agency in particular, we will be able to restore peace in the region soon,” he said.

Lauding the role of Frontier Works Organisation in initiating mega development projects in Fata, he urged its management to complete the project ahead of its stipulated time by the end of the year.

Earlier, FWO Director General Major-General Mohammad Afzal said the dual carriage from Mattani up to Takhta Beg in Jamrud would greatly help ease traffic congestion in Peshawar as all heavy traffic going to Afghanistan via the Torkham Road would be diverted from the Indus Highway in Mattani to Jamrud bypassing the Peshawar Ring Road and Hayatabad residential area.

He expressed the hope that the new road, which was to pass through parts of Bara tehsil, would boost economic development of the militancy-affected area and accelerate trading activities with Afghanistan. The FWO director general said the expansion of Peshawar-Torkham Road would be completed in June, while the FWO would begin work on the second phase of the 70km long Torkham-Jalalabad Road in the second half of April. Meanwhile, the governor also visited the De-Radicalisation Centre established at the levies centre in Shah Kas, where former militants were kept for rehabilitation.

The officials told the governor that two more such centres were also established in Bara bazaar and Akkakhel, where around 400 surrendered men were kept for technical training. They said such trainees were given monthly stipend of Rs6000 each.–Dawn

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