ISLAMABAD Pakistan is likely to start 'ferry operation in the waterway created due to submergence of 20-kilometre-long part of Karakoram Highway into Attaabad Lake to avoid massive loss of trade with China and to remove inconvenience of the residents. Idea of 'ferry operation is currently under consideration and soon after its final approval, it would be implemented by end of the next month, well-placed sources informed TheNation. Initially, two ferries that could carry around 10 vehicles may start operation in the submerged part of the KKH. It may be mentioned here that Chinese engineering experts team had already proposed that preparation of a temporary road link could take three months while complete rehabilitation might take two years. Keeping in view the situation, the sources said, launch of ferry operation at the damaged area is priority of the Government. The Government in this stage is also facing huge pressure, as among other problems this closure has reportedly caused huge loss to the trade sector. According to UK-based media group, there has been more than 50 percent loss in the trade, as last year 28 commercial containers from china came via this route and this year only 10 have arrived. Last year, report said, there was revenue of Rs 34,400,000 in May and this year only Rs 67,000,00 could be generated. It was also shocking that the blockage of trade reportedly has cost both countries about $ 17.8 million, which is about a quarter of the annual trade. It would not be out of the place to mention here that National Highway Authority (NHA) also received a Hunza Lake study proposal, also available with TheNation, of a group commander of FWO in 1979, who was then responsible for the maintenance of Karakoram Highway (KKH). Brig(r) Khalid M Amin, in its study, revealed that Chinese were repairing Khunjerab-Halegush Section, 160 km, which was earlier built in the early seventies but was seriously damaged due to glacial movement and slides. In addition to repair of road and retaining structures, two bridges were being constructed which were destroyed by glacier. The super structure was constructed in 60 days and I am witness to it. This was a replacement bridge as friendship bridge constructed upstream (3 km) had gone under water, as a glacier moved debris from the left side and blocked Hunza river creating a lake, which was about 5 km long (1974), he said in the report. Ideas were floated that explosive could open it or air power may be used. The PAF declined and the lake remained for over 6 years and Chinese constructed a new bridge at Shishkot restoring traffic in September 1979. Army was operating hollow plate ferry crossing six vehicles per trip. Six to eight crossing were made daily and 100 soldiers were used for pulling the raft, he added. Commenting on the present slide, he, in the report, said that present slide, which is downstream of the previous slide, is much larger and due to sliding of mountain slopes. There is no way that it can be removed by using machinery. The spillway, which is really a cunnet, as spillways and concrete lined, is safety valve, which will slow down the flow of river if the water rises beyond level of spillways. Obviously, a wider or deeper cunnet could not be constructed due to fear of sliding. The slide may take year, as earlier slide of 1974 just upstream took years. This is much bigger slide and may take 10 years, he revealed. He proposed, therefore, a ferry operation should be started to cross 100 vehicles per day so that traffic can be resumed. When contacted, NHA Chairman Ch Altaf confirmed that the idea of ferry operation was being considered. This ferry operation is need of the hour and other work would remain continue with its pace, he said adding that keeping in view safety measures all option in this regard would be deliberated. To a question, the Chairman said that temporary track may take three months and rehabilitation could take around 2 years in its completion.