Lowari Tunnel: The most mismanaged tunnel in the world

CHITRAL:  Without any exaggeration, the 8.2 km Lowari road tunnel, linking the districts of Dir and Chitral in Pakistan, can safely be labelled as the most mismanaged tunnel in the world.

Inaugurated formally for initiation of ground work in 2006 by then President Pervez Musharraf and then inaugurated for completion of the tunnel by then PM Nawaz Sharif in 2017, the tunnel is still incomplete. There is no exhaust system nor appropriate lighting in the tunnel. The candle lights inside the tunnel are turned on at sporadic intervals two or three times a day or when some VIP is expected to use the tunnel. Otherwise most of the time the 8.2 km tunnel is pitched in darkness.

Not only that the tunnel is incomplete, the traffic management at the tunnel is pathetic too. On personal whims of the management vehicles are held up at the mouth of the tunnel at time for hours and then allowed to go inside in a convoy defying safety rules. A trucker coming from Peshawar to Chitral said he was held at the tunnel along with other trucks for six hours without giving any reason.

Sometime one can just approach and pass through without any hinderance, while at other times you are made to wait for hours before using the tunnel.. Even when vehicles with passengers including children, women, elderly and sick are made to wait at the mouth of the tunnel, one can see land cruisers, fortuners and vigos whizzing past the long line into the tunnel, to the dismay of the long line of waiting passenger vehicles. A similar scene which is witnessed very often is invariably followed by the cursing and abusing the NHA and the government by the ‘forcibly made to wait’ passengers.

If any one claims there is now one Pakistan instead of two, should visit the Lowari tunnel as an ordinary passenger in a public transport, and he will realise that the slogan is an utter bullshit. .. CN report, 29 Sep 220

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