ISLAMABAD, July 30: Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf on Monday ordered to increase the size of Abbottabad-Mansehra gas pipeline to provide the facility to other areas of Mansehra district and Azad Kashmir.

He also ordered acceleration of work on Hassanabadal-Mansehra Expressway.

The prime minister issued the orders on the request of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Revenue Shuja Salim Khan, who called on him at Prime Minister’s House on Monday.

The minister requested the prime minister that diameter of gas pipeline from Abbottabad to Mansehra should be increased to 16 inches so that natural gas could be provided to other areas of the district.

Mr Khan told Dawn after the meeting that presently 16 inches gas pipeline was laid only up to Abbottabad and smaller gauge pipeline was extended to Manshera. It would now be increased to 16 inches so that natural gas could be provided to the areas of Azad Kashmir, Balakot and Kohistan etc.

The minister also solicited intervention of federal government for early completion of Hassanabdal-Mansehra Expressway. The land acquisition process for Hassanabadal-Havelian section of the expressway is almost complete whereas funds for Havelian-Mansehra section need to be released by the federal government.

The project is scheduled to be completed by Asian Development Bank within three years.

The provincial minister said that early completion of the expressway would not only benefit Hazara people but it would also facilitate a large number of people from Gilgit-Baltistan and China. The road would also help to promote tourism industry in the area, he added.

Mr Khan said that he met with the prime minister to get his approval for the extension of natural gas pipeline and early completion of the expressway.

According to an official handout the prime minister has also directed for convening a meeting of all officials concerned, including chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, for the purpose.

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