CHITRAL: The nonsensical management of the Lowari tunnel is proving a big impediment to tourism in Chitral, beside a perpetual pain in the neck for Chitralis. Tourists arriving in Chitral said they were stopped at the tunnel from 12 pm to 3 pm and the reason given by the persons manning the barrier was that the tunnel is closed by NHA daily between 12 pm to 2 Pm as a ‘break’ to the tunnel while passenger vehicles full of all kind of passengers including, elderly, women, children, unwell, all are made to wait.
The reason always quoted for this unjustified closure of the tunnel is that there is no ventilation system inside the tunnel. However the practice of holding up vehicles and letting them inside in droves itself belies this logic as this practice not only increases the pollution inside but also is a safety hazard. Instead if vehicles are allowed to pass through as they approach there will be no congestion nor smoke inside the tunnel. The other logic given by NHA to hold up vehicles is that the tunnel is a single lane tunnel. However there is no sign board outside the tunnel saying it is a one way tunnel, because payment has been made for a two way tunnel and there is no concept of a one way tunnel anywhere in the world. Also there is no signboard outside the tunnel specifying the tunnel closure timings which means all this is ill intended and the tunnel managers have kept the discretionary power to themselves as to whom to let inside the tunnel and whom to hold back. This is the abyss of degradation to which Pakistan has fallen, no matter how much we chant national anthems and patriotic songs.
All vehicles with passengers who are heavier in their nuisance value than the tunnel managers are let inside the tunnel without any further ado. Then there is no problem of smoke or one way traffic restriction etc. The helpless passengers and ordinary tourists are made to taste the dirty faeces of misgovernance when they have to use the tunnel. Many tourists considered it a big turnoff and vowed not to come to Chitral again. .. CN report, 28 Jul 2021