SHANGLA: The Shangla Action Committee on Thursday decided to give a call for shutdown strike across the district against dropping of the 33km-long Bisham-Khwazakhela Expressway road project from the federal government’s PSDP programme, which was approved by the previous government.

It was stated by the committee chairman advocate Mohammad Naeem Khan, who is also president of the district bar, here in a meeting. Social activists, local elders and lawyers were present on the occasion.

He said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had announced two mega road projects for Malakand division during his visit to Swat in 2016, including Chakdara-Kalam and Bisham-Khwazakhela expressways. However, they regretted that the present government had removed the Bisham-Khwazakhela expressway from the approved schemes.

“The National Highway Authority had issued advertisement for hiring consultants for feasibility study in November 2016 and funds were also released by the government to NHA,” he said.

Mr Khan alleged that federal minister for communication Murad Saeed had dropped the expressway project because of his ‘ego problem’ with PML-N provincial president Amir Muqam.

He said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had announced the 133km Chakdara-Kalam and 33km Bisham-Khwazakhela expressway projects in May 20, 2016 and later included them in the Public Sector Development Programme.

The action committee chairman said that survey and design work was initiated in 2017 and continued till 2018, while the feasibility report had also been submitted to NHA in which a tunnel from Chamtalai to Alpurai was included.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2020