CHITRAL: District nazim Maghfirat Shah has demanded of the high-ups of National Highway Authority (NHA) to carry out survey for realignment of the 147-km Chitral-Shandur Road so that it becomes an all-weather road.

In a press statement issued here on Thursday, he said that the NHA team ignored the complications and sensitivities associated with the topography of the areas through which the road passed. He said that the team bypassed the mountainous tract needed for the safety of passengers and uninterrupted flow of traffic.

The nazim said that the proposed road would pass through a number of hilly terrains where falling of boulders started in winter season during rain while the road surface turned slippery, rendering it highly risky where a large number of people lost their lives.

“The road project is designed to be an alternate route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which enhances its importance and makes it obligatory on NHA to choose a route that is free from natural hazards to the least degree.

“The stubborn attitude of NHA will spoil the road project and deprive the people of Chitral of the benefits of all-weather road free from natural disasters wrought by snowfall and snow avalanches,” he said.

Mr Shah said that the road at Chitral-Booni section needed to be diverted to other side of the Chitral River in Kuju village and in Mroi Bala to Prayeet village to bypass the highly risky mountainous terrains where fall of rocks and boulders during the winter season blocked the road and put the travellers at risk. At Mastuj-Laspur section, the road was vulnerable to the falling rocks and boulders throughout the year from the mountain and the road was blocked for weeks that claimed many lives, he said. He added that diversion to the opposite side of the river was unavoidable.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2019

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