PM announces construction of Rs 50 bn Skardu-Gilgit road

WEB DESK: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday announced initiation of expansion and construction of a high quality road from Skardu to Gilgit, at a cost of Rs 50 billion. The Prime Minister was addressing a gathering after witnessing the oath-taking ceremony of the fifth Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan here at the Chinar Bagh.

The Prime Minister assured full support of the federal government in uplift of the area. He said Skardu-Gilgit road would eventually connect to the Expressway in Havelian and usher in an era of prosperity in one of the remotest parts of the country. The PM said China Pakistan Economic Corridor would cater to transit traffic from the Central Asian Republics, generate employment and economic activity. He said the road linkage would serve the most function of bringing the people of Pakistan closer, and their hearts would beat in unison.

The Prime Minister directed to make a feasibility for expansion of the airport to cater to larger aircraft in all weather. He said his government was fully focussed on power generation and said a 27MW hydel would be constructed for Gilgit. The PM said the government looked forward to generation of around 15,000MW of electricity through Diamir Bhasha, Dasu and Bunji dams. The PM said he was committed to the uplift of the area and said all resources would be utilised to provide all facilities of life to the people.

He hoped that the new governor would serve the masses selflessly and bring one of country’s remotest areas at par in services with the developed parts of the country. He said the government was keen to strengthen democratic norms in the country and said a similar strategy was being worked upon for Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

The PM also distributed cheques for compensation amount amongst the people of Diamir and Ghizir affected by the earthquake of October 26 that killed 14 people. An amount of Rs 600,000 has been paid for those who lost their lives, while Rs 200,000 for those who lost a limb and Rs 100,000 for the injured. An amount of Rs 200,000 was paid for fully damaged house and Rs 100,000 for partially damaged one; 89 houses were fully damaged in the magnitude 8.0 earthquake.

Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan in his brief address expressed gratitude to the PM for selecting for the task and assured the gathering that he would serve the people of the area impartially, without any discrimination. He said all efforts and resources would be utilised to ensure law and order in Gilgit-Baltistan and development works would be undertaken. He urged the PM to help the area in meeting its energy shortage, and hoped the completion of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor would usher in an era of prosperity for the area.

He also urged early initiation of work on Skardu-Gilgit road. Earlier, Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman was appreciative of the support of PM Nawaz Sharif for his efforts for uplift of the area. He said the local administration was selflessly serving the masses and was also able to handle the damages caused by the recent earthquake without taking any assistance from other provinces. The event was attended by Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, Birjees Tahir Minister for Kashmir Affairs, legislative members of the Gilgit Baltistan Assembly, Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman and notables of the area.