The tunnel had been inaugurated by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif on August 20, 2017, after which it was opened for public transport.
The approach roads on both sides of the tunnel are nearing completion with the result that the duration of journey has been reduced significantly from five hours to only two-and-half hours between the two districts as the motorists now do not have to negotiate the Lowari top.
The people of Chitral complained that neither the fares of passenger vehicles nor that of the goods transport were revised, which had been fixed when the vehicles passed through the Lowari top.
Jughoor village nazim Sajjad Ahmed Khan said a number of his written suggestions to the district administration to rationalise the exorbitant fares went unheeded.
He said fare between Upper Dir and Peshawar was Rs450 against the distance of 271 kilometres, while it was Rs700 between Upper Dir and Chitral against a distance of just 108 kilometres.
?When you hire a cab, you have to pay Rs1,050 and Rs1,500 for Peshawar-Upper Dir and Upper Dir-Chitral routes,? he said, adding that there was no rationale behind the inflated fares after the completion of the tunnel.
Goods transport fares are also set by the transporters with the result that the prices of daily use items have showed an upsurge in the local markets.
A cloth trader in Shahi Bazaar, Bashir Hussain Azad, told this scribe that the truckers charged three times higher the fare for Chitral compared to Peshawar and Upper Dir.
He complained that the government never bothered to look into the arbitrary fare.
MARKHOR?S BODY RECOVERED:?The body of a Kashmir markhor was retrieved from the Chitral River on Sunday morning after it jumped into the waters frightened by stray dogs. Later, its body was stuffed for preservation and for display as a trophy.
Divisional forest officer of Chitral Gol National Park, Irshad Ahmed, told Dawn that the markhor came down from the national park passing through the Balach village.
He said the goat?s body was retrieved by the watchers of the department near the Chew bridge.
During the current month, he said it was the third incident of markhor jumping into the river.
Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2018