Lowari tunnel brings little relief to commuters

Technicalities of operating Lowari tunnel discussed

At a meeting,  Commissioner Malakand Division at his office reviewed the operation of Lowari Tunnel and progress on the construction of the its approach roads.

A representative of National Highway Authority (NHA) told the meeting that the NHA was keen to operationalize the tunnel round the clock but there were certain hazards which warranted necessary break within the operational hours.

He said almost 600 vehicles daily passed through the tunnel which emit smoke and gases such as methane, carbon monoxide and unburnt fuel etc.

These gases and unburnt fuel are not only injurious to human lives but can also lead to ignition.

He said there were chances of sudden fire incidents inside the tunnel due to high pressure and temperature if the same were not ejected through jet engine run exhausts.

The schedule of break is to secure safety of human lives and property and minimize the risk, he added.

The NHA official also referred to accidents occurred inside tunnels in different parts of the world and added that the existing relaxation allowing the tunnel to ply through the tunnel was against the international code of conduct and laws.

The meeting was informed by the NHA representative that though civil work on the tunnel was fully complete, about 18 components of electrical and mechanical systems were to be installed inside the tunnel.

The electro-mechanical work includes lightning, traffic control through signal management inside the tunnel, installation of exhaust system for removal of highly poisonous gases such as nitrogenous oxcide, carbon monoxide, dioxide and highly inflammable methane gas.

These gases are produced due to fuel burning and emission of vehicles. Installation of electro-mechanical system will cost almost Rs10 billion.

It is high tech work which was tendered to international firms who were reluctant to participate in it due to the unfriendly environment for foreigners. Several advertisements were published in international magazines costing more than seventy lack rupees.

Jet fans equal to that of a Boeing plane would be installed in the tunnel. In the absence of jet fans used for the removal of these toxic gases, operation of the tunnel is against international safety standards and norms, hence illegal. But he assured the commissioner that the NHA was committed to completing the work at the earliest.

“Since the commuters are unaware and uneducated about the tunnel standard operating procedures (SOPs), therefore, they feel discomfort about these intervals,” the official added.
He said that these matters were also placed before the chief justice of Pakistan after he took suo motu notice of the suffering of the commuters from Chitral. “The chief justice was kind enough and has shown satisfaction over the arrangements,” he maintained.

Summing up the meeting, the commissioner said that Chitral was a backward area, therefore, all efforts should be taken to facilitate its residents with sincerity and dedication which will also promote business activities in the area. He said that all departments concerned should work with dedication to complete the tunnel project without any further delay.

The commissioner issued directions that the access roads of the tunnel should be dressed, compacted and made vehicle worthy to facilitate the commuters. The NHA shall report compliance and shall sponsor seminars both in Chitral and Dir.

The representatives of transporters, traders, goods forwarding agencies and owners of filling stations as well as elected public representatives and general public may be invited to these seminars to create awareness about SOPs of the tunnel.

A meeting should also be arranged with ulema so that they could educate the general public regarding the SOPs of the tunnel, said the commissioner.

5 Replies to “Technicalities of operating Lowari tunnel discussed”

  1. T.Khan
    This is totally irrelevent and unscientific minutes of the meeting. Many questions are: Why a low grade exhaust fans are insttalled when such dangrous- poisnous & inflamable gases are accomolated.? Secondly. if oxygen difficiences are inside the tunnel then how it is possible for inflammation and Raising the temp. Of the tunnel upto 2000 degree in the presence of CO2 and CO gases. Is urnanium are exploded inside.? third if international firm are working then the standard of tunnel must be Of international quality is mere a joking with mountain community. Where were this saftey precuation before MNA chitral issue with the security personel.? Before the black toping of tunnel inside road the people spent 50 to 70 minutes within the tunnel then MalakhanD Commissioner was in which ear of elephant. So appeal to the cheif justice to take a sever action against commissioner malakhand who is reponsible to keep the life of chitrali peoples in risk before black toping of the inside tunnel road. Now the timing within tunnel is 7 minutes which is more safer travel then 60 minutes. This is beaureucratic approach to make fool the community.

  2. Hahahahahaha, what a joke, it looks that nuclear explosion is expected inside the tunnel, people of Chitral should be aware of the risk. Shame on NHA and Commissioner for such nonsense report. After investment of more than Rs. 30 billion on tunnel, this was time to open it for public, but issuing such report is mockery of public and extremely pathetic that Commissioner Malakand division issuing such faulty report which is mockery of the who administration. Whatever mentioned in the report and what scientific logic is presented in the report are totally nonsense which reflect that how incompetent our administration is which presenting such report.

  3. These are lame excuses to tease, humiliate and punish people of Chitral. If the tunnel is so dangerous whey it has been constructed. It is also to mention here that these lame excuses are presented to fool people, because if round the clock traffic is allowed in the tunnel there will be neither rush of vehicles nor smoke. It takes more 20 minute interval for crossing vehicle in the tunnel. When vehicles are stopped and not allowed then crossing of the tunnel by number of vehicles create smoke and problem. In case of opening there will be single vehicle to cross the tunnel in 20 or 30 minutes, then there will be no smoke.

    1. Valid point. they want to maintain their chaudhryhood at tunnel at the cost of common travellers or simply they think the public do not know anything.

  4. What a bundle of crap these excuses are. As if this is the first tunnel in the world with all the world’s oxygen and exhaust problems. There are numerous tunnels longer than this and at higher altitudes than this operating 24 hours in the world. The Atta Abad tunnel in Hunza is an example. They never have oxygen problem and all kind of fancy names of poisonous gases mentioned in the report.
    All excuses for closing the tunnel for two hours are bullshit. If safety is the only consideration we should close roads also for two hours so that accidents are minimised. Even mention of pregnant women has been made which is a bag of foul crap and only Chitralis can accept such nonsense. Any other people would have slapped such excuses on the face of the excuse giving authorities.
    The crux of the matter is authorities do not want Chitralis to benefit from the tunnel as it is meant to be- that is all!. The two way tunnel is even restricted to one way traffic. They forgot to mention an excuse for that.

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