PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Monday directed relevant officials to hire consultants for conducting a commercial and financial feasibility study for the construction of an expressway from Chakdara to Rabat in Lower Dir district.

A statement issued here said that the chief minister gave approval for the feasibility study while chairing a meeting regarding the project. The proposed expressway would connect Chakdara to Rabat via Ramla and Ouch villages.

It said that the 26-kilometer expressway would be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs10.5 billion. In the first phase, it will be constructed from Chakdara interchange of Swat Motorway to Rabat and will be extended in the next phases. The meeting was briefed on three options of routes for construction of the proposed expressway and the forum chose the shortest route of Chakdara to Rabat via Ramla and Ouch villages.

The statement said that Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting with the parliamentarians of Dir in February 2020 had issued directives to start homework for the project.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

It said that in light of the directives of the prime minister, communication and works department and Pakhtunkhwa Highways Authority started spade work and came up with three possible options.

The meeting was informed that PC-II for the feasibility of the project had already been prepared and submitted to the relevant forum. The meeting was told that financial and commercial feasibility of the project would be completed in three months.

The proposed expressway will be an alternate to the existing N-45 from Chakdara to Rabaat. It will have a five-kilometre tunnel, which will reduce a travel distance of 23-kilometre approximately.

The chief minister termed the proposed expressway an important project to boost tourism and commercial activities in the region. He said that the project would provide better and quality communication facilities to the people of Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Bajaur and Chitral.

He said that expressway would be a project of the provincial government apart from the proposed Chakdara-Chitral road under CPEC project. He said that the proposed Chakdara-Chitral road project was intact and no funds of the project were diverted to any other scheme.

He rejected the allegations of opposition with regard to diversion of funds of Chakdara-Chitral road project to any other project. He said that some elements were trying to mislead people for their political point-scoring.