ISLAMABAD, Aug 2: China has offered financial assistance for overcoming problems arising out of the natural lake formed in Hunza valley at Attabad, particularly its impact on Karakoram Highway.
A meeting presided over by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at the Presidency on Tuesday reviewed the progress made so far in lowering the water level in the lake and in reconstruction and realignment of the portion of Karakoram Highway that was damaged by massive landslides in January last year.
The president’s spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said the meeting was held to review the progress made in implementing the decisions taken in July last year.
Minister for Communications Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan, Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Manzoor Wattoo, Secretary General to the President Salman Faruqui, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah, Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam and senior government officials, besides representatives of the Chinese Embassy, attended the meeting.
The meeting decided to make resources available for expediting the lowering of water level in Attabad lake. The president also ordered expediting the work on the submerged portion of the Karakoram Highway for which funds were made available by China.
The meeting was informed that the proposal by the China Reconstruction Bridges Corporation for construction of 13km new road and rehabilitation of 22km of existing section of the Karakoram Highway by lowering the water level in Attabad Lake had been accepted and the National Highway Authority had signed a contract with the Chinese company.
Frontier Works Organisation Director General Maj Gen Najibullah Khan briefed the meeting on the progress made so far in lowering the water in the lake through controlled blasting and mechanical excavation.
The meeting was informed that pursuant to the decision taken in July last year and after the approval of design in September 2010, work on the widening of the spillway began in October last year.
It was informed that phase-1 of the project — that is, digging of the spillway up to 24 metres — has been completed while work on phase-2 was under way.