Monday May 29, 2023

Swat Qaumi Jirga wants expressway built along river bank

MINGORA: The Swat Qaumi Jirga and land owners on Friday discussed the proposed route of Swat Expressway phase-II and demanded the provincial government to review its decision to build the road on agricultural land.

The jirga was held under the leadership of Abdul Qahar Khan, which was attended by elders, including Mukhtar Khan Yousafzai, Sher Shah Khan, Abdul Jabbar Khan, Haji Zahid Khan, Sher Bahadar Khan, Ahmad Shah Khan, Abdul Wakil Khan and others. Though the elders welcomed the construction of Swat Expressway phase-II and declared it a key step for the promotion of tourism in the area, they demanded the government build it along the river bank and save the fertile land.

“The government must change the project map. It will have environmental and economic consequences, as thousands of trees as well as orchards will be destroyed,” said Alhaj Zahid Khan, a local elder.

He asked the chief minister to change the decision in the best interest of the area and save the land owner from looming starvation.

“The proposed project is the violation of Land Acquisition rules 2020, Agricultural land protection act 2021, and National Climate Change Policy 2012.The government should build the motorway on the bank of river Swat, which will provide a beautiful landscape to the tourists, and will also provide protection to the land from the erosion and floods,” said Mukhtar Khan Yousafzai, a local leader of Jirga.

Abdul Wakil Khan and Ahmad Shah asked the chief minister to honour the pledge regarding the demands of the people. They alleged that some high-ups and authorities were not ready to change the route map for their vested interests. The jirga members threatened to not allow any official to construct the expressway on the proposed map if their demand was not given due importance.