PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has stressed the need for setting up economic zone near the Swat Motorway.

Chairing a meeting of public-private partnership committee on Swat Motorway Phase-II here on Wednesday, he said that the motorway would not only provide high speed travelling facilities to the people but would also prove to be a milestone for promotion of tourism, agriculture and trade and economic activities.

The meeting approved the built, operate and transfer (BOT) model. It agreed in principal to the proposed financial models for the construction of Swat Motorway Phase-II project and accorded approval to BOT model through public-private partnership.

The 80-kilometre long Phase-II of Swat Motorway, to be constructed from Chakdara Interchange to Fatehpur Madyan, would have nine interchanges and eight main bridges. The local population on both sides of the Swat River would be connected through the interchanges and bridges.

Mahmood Khan says he will try to include the project in CPEC

The chief minister directed the authorities concerned to fix realistic timeline for the ground breaking and completion of the project. He said that the project should be completed within the stipulated time period.

Provincial Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Advisor to Chief Minister Hamayatullah Khan, Additional Chief Secretary Shakeel Qadir Khan, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Shahab Ali Shah, the chief executive officer of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade and other relevant officials attended the meeting.

The chief minister said that he would also try to make the project a part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He added that the most suitable financial approach and model would be adopted for the execution of the project.

“Keeping in view the increasing volume of traffic on Swat Motorway Phase-I, it is very easy to predict that Phase-II of the project is feasible in all respects that will not only provide high speed travelling facilities to the people but will also prove to be a milestone for promotion of local and international tourism, agriculture and trade and economic activities,” he added.

The chief minister underlined the need for establishing economic zone near Swat Motorway and said that the region would emerge as trade and economic hub in future.

Earlier, the meeting was informed that Swat Motorway Phase-II would initially consist of four lanes extendable to six lanes in future.

The interchanges planned for the project include Chakdara, Shamozai, Barikot, Takhtaband, Kanju, Malam Jabba, Sher Palam, Matta-Khwazkhela and Madyan.

Average distance amongst the interchanges is 10 kilometres and link highways would also be provided where needed. The total estimated cost of the project is Rs60.5 billion including Rs20.5 billion for land and resettlement and construction cost of Rs37.2 billion.

The meeting was also informed about the geotechnical and hydrological data of the project, environmental conditions of the project area, possible impacts of the project on socio-economic condition and section-wise traffic volume on the corridor.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2020