Need for extension of the Lowari tunnel
CHITRAL: When the Lowari tunnel was envisaged, the idea was that it would allow all weather travel between Chitral and the rest of Pakistan. The Austrian consultant designer of the tunnel talking to CN some years back had said that the tunnel was initially designed to start at Panakot Dir and end at Mirkhani Chitral, but later amended to the present form, on the pretext of cost cutting and budget restrictions. Had the tunnel been proceeded with as initially designed it would have completed at much lesser cost than has been incurred on it due to hip hops and manipulated price escalations and mega corruption in it, etc.
Even now if a tunnel is built starting from Panakot Dir and joined with the present tunnel, it will be much cost effective compared to the perpetual expenses of repairs on the road, not to mention the shortening of the distance, saving fuel for Pakistan and avoid blockages like in snowfall as has happened presently. Similar is the case on Chitral side. A tunnel from Mirkhani joining the present tunnel would do the trick. Tunnel drilling these days is more economical and convenient than making and maintaining perpetually damage prone open roads in the mountains.
Just as transforming the faulty design of a rail tunnel into a road tunnel became reality, the idea of extending the tunnel to solve the perpetual problems on the Lowari pass, is also a practical and feasible idea which only needs a push from those who matter and those interested in the future of Chitral. .. CN report, 16 Jan 2020