SWABI - Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said on Monday that Swat Motorway would usher in an era of prosperity and development in Malakand division and adjoining areas.

He was speaking at a ceremony held at Karnal Sher Khan (Shaheed) Interchange on Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway in connection with completion of a portion of the Swat Motorway.

The section of Swat Motorway from Karnal Sher Khan Interchange on Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway to Katlang Interchange on Swat Motorway was opened for traffic on the occasion. The distance between both the interchanges is 50 kilometres, out of the total 80-kiolmeters-long motorway.

The remaining 30 kilometres portion of the Swat Motorway from Katlang to Chakdara would be completed during the next government.

The project’s total estimated cost is Rs 38 billion.

The Chief Minister was upbeat about completion of the project; stating that among the four provinces, only the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government initiated and completed a motorway project and none of the other provincial governments in the country could start such a mega project.

The Swat Motorway would not only boost trade and development activities in the region but the people would also get benefits from the facility in various other fields as well because sources of transportation and communication would become trouble-free, the Chief Minister said.

He said that the KP government paid Rs 4 billion to the land owners for land acquisition and Rs 11 billion to Frontier Works Organisation (FWO). The FWO would look after the Swat Motorway for 25 years, he said.

Khattak said that their rivals had also ruled the province, asking why they couldn’t initiate such projects. He said that the projects initiated and completed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led KP government were more in volume and productivity as compared to the development schemes commissioned in the KP during the past 70 years.

Instead, he said that the PTI rival political parties during their tenures in government were more focussed on looting public money than initiating and completing public-welfare projects. They focused their own corruption, he said, adding, that their rivals were unable to initiate such schemes in their respective tenures.

Khattak also brushed aside criticism made by Opposition parties about construction of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system project in Peshawar.

He said that the BRT project would be completed within next 2 months, which, he said, would address nearly all issues relating to the transport in the provincial metropolis.

He said that the BRT project would also help resolve the issue of noise and dust pollution in the City. Besides, the BRT will sufficiently reduce travel time between the various destinations within the City.

Khattak said that the PTI would perform well in the general elections and would get majority in National Assembly as well as Provincial Assemblies.

He said that the PTI would continue to pursue its people-friendly and development agenda after coming into power after the general elections.

Speaking on the occasion, Asad Qaisar, speaker of KP Assembly, said that opening of traffic on the Swat Motorway would boost tourism, trade, transport and revenue while bringing the militancy-hit terrains close to the rest of the country.

Earlier, Dr Afzal, Director General FWO, briefed the Chief Minister about Swat Motorway. He briefed the CM about tunnels, interchanges, service areas and work on the remaining portion of the motorway.

The Swat Motorway is expected to lessen the traffic load on Mardan-Malakand Road, which for the last several decades has been the busiest road connecting Southern parts of the province with the Northern.

The Swat Motorway will provide an alternate route, especially for the Islamabad-bound traffic, thus bringing down the number of vehicles plying on Mardan-Malakand Road to nearly half. It may also be mentioned that due to heavy load of traffic, the Mardan-Malakand Road also remained unsafe for travelling due to frequent accidents in the area.

 

Muqaddam Khan