ISLAMABAD: The lowering of water level of the artificial Attabad Lake will cost Rs660 million, concluded a meeting presided by the finance minister on Monday.
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh held a meeting with Frontier Works Organization (FWO) and the National Highway Authority (NHA) to discuss the progress of two projects regarding Attabad Lake as well as the re-alignment of different sections of Karakorum Highway (KKH).
The minister stressed the timely completion of the projects and discussed different financial matters faced by FWO, NHA and other departments concerned regarding the projects.
A massive landslide occurred on July 4 last year near the Attabad village in Hunza Valley, causing a heavy loss of life and property. The landslide blocked River Hunza, which resulted in the formation of a lake, besides inundating about a two-kilometre long stretch of KKH.
The Attabad Lake and the damaged road network of KKH have proven to be a major obstacle for the trade between Pakistan and China. The completion of the two projects is key to utilising the existing trade and energy potential of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The meeting comes just days after President Asif Ali Zardari held a meeting and ordered to expedite the realignment of the damaged portion of KKH, for which funds had been provided by China.
GILGIT: A project, the first of its kind in Gilgit-Baltistan, prepared by a student of Karakoram International University (KIU) has been approved for an annual award.
“DNA testing and GPS position of snow leopard genetic material in Gilgit-Baltistan” is the project that was scrutinised and nominated for an award by the scientific committee of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said a university spokesperson. The project was submitted by Nilofer, a student of KIU who prepared it with help from the Associate Dean Dr Khalil Ahmed. He said that the International Snow Leopard Trust and WWF sponsored the student for the research project, which is the first of its kind in a region where the rare snow leopard faces extinction. Environmentalists say most incidents in which snow leopards are targeted are reprisal attacks following attacks on livestock.
Last week, a snow leopard was beaten to death by the people of Mathal, a remote village in Skardu, after the ageing cat broke into a cattle house. Locals managed to protect their cattle, but seriously injured the leopard. It died in the forest department’s custody. The International Snow Leopard Trust will give the student US$8,000 while the WWF will provide Rs200,000.