KKH Repair Project to take 6 years
ISLAMABAD, Dec 18: China and Pakistan have agreed to work on lowering of water level in the dammed Hunza River. According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, the representatives of a Chinese Roads and Bridges Corporation and the Pakistan National Highways Authority have reached an agreement to partially drain the dammed river and restore the severed road connection between the two countries.
Complete restoration of the strategic Karakoram Highway is likely to take around six years and cost up to 275 million US dollars.
Partial drainage of the lake is expected to resurface a 15 kilometre stretch of the only land-route between the two nuclear power states. The remaining portions will have to be reconstructed.
APP has quoted a Pakistan official as saying that Six large, high-rise, bridges as well as 70 small bridges are to be constructed as part of the agreement signed today. It remains unclear whether the entire fund has been allocated for the lake affected parts of KKH or other regions too.
It is pertinent to note that 5 major bridges on the KKH had been caused to submerge in the 24 Kilometre dammed river. 2 suspension bridges were also caused to submerged, severing intra-village and inter-village travel highly difficult.
Thousands of acres of arable and other land will also be recovered as a result of the partial drainage of the lake, if achieved.
The decision is likely to generate mixed reaction from the affected people. While some will laud it as ‘something is better than nothing’, others are likely to criticize the government for failing to get the promised 30 meter (almost 100 ft) height reduction.
That the complete restoration of links is likely to take around six years is also thought to be a cause of concern for the people who have lost essential livelihood means due closure of the Karakoram Highway and devastation of property.