Gilgit-Baltistan: President directed to expedite the realignment of the submerged portion of KKH

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ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari directed on Tuesday concerned authorities to expedite the realignment of the submerged portion of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) due to landsliding in Hunza valley. The observations came at a high level meeting at the Presidency to review progress on lowering the water level at the Attabad lake, and reconstruction and realignment of the damaged section of KKH in January last year.

The meeting was also informed that the proposal of China Reconstruction Bridges Corporation (CRBC) for the construction of 13 kilometres of new road and the rehabilitation of 22 kilometres of an existing section of KKH by lowering the water level of Attabad lake had been accepted. The National Highway Authority had signed a contract with CRBC in this regard.

The meeting was chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The participants included Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Minister for Communication Arbab Alamgir Khan, Minister for Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, Secretary General to the President Salman Faruqui, Gilgit Baltistan Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah, Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, senior officials and representatives from the Chinese Embassy.

The meeting also reviewed the progress on decisions taken at an earlier meeting at the Presidency in July last year.

DG FWO Maj Gen Najib Ullah Khan briefed the meeting on measures to lower the water level of the lake through controlled blasting and mechanical excavation. They were informed that phase 1 of the project, which involved digging the spillway up to 24 metres was completed, while work on phase 2 of the project was underway.

The meeting decided to make resources available for further expediting lowering the water level of Attabad lake. The president directed to expedite the realignment of the submerged portion of KKH, for which funds have been made available by China. APP

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