Road to Progress
Monday, 4 November 2013
FATA shall no more be synonymous with fighting. The ancient ‘Silk Route Trade’ is set to be revived. The fables of our frontier still echo with splendour of the trade caravans travelling on the trails and corridors of our North Western Frontier, exchanging goods of South Asia with Central Asia and Europe and promoting peace, friendship and prosperity all around.
Through massive infrastructure rehabilitation efforts by the Frontier Works Organization, the once forbidden frontier is opening up with a network of roads and improvements in water management and electric supply.
Since centuries the historic Khyber Pass has seen armies of traders, invaders and explorers marching through its rocky terrain on the legendary Grand Trunk Road to reach the Indian subcontinent. The expansion of Peshawar-Torkham Road (under progress) will greatly facilitate the landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian States for trade and travel. Beyond Khyber it joins the Torkham-Jalalabad Road that was constructed inside Afghanistan some years back by FWO.
Khyber Pass and Quetta-Kandhar route constituted the two access ways to Afghanistan & Central Asia. But from this year the two neighbours have a new land link through Dera Ismail Khan-Wana-Angoor Ada Road. Passing through the snowcapped mountains of Waziristan, the road not only showcases the amazing beauty of the once forbidden frontier but has initiated significant economic activity along. Enhanced communication shall reduce internal rivalries by facilitating interaction amongst the tribesmen whereas law and order situation will improve through greater accessibility and logistic support available to law enforcers. The new ‘Third Trade Corridor’ between Pakistan and Afghanistan reduces the distance between Karachi and Kabul by 400 kilometers. The traffic for the huge landlocked region of Afghanistan & Central Asia will conveniently pass through this quiet road and join the Indus highway. Completion of 2200 kilometers long Afghanistan Ring Road connecting major Afghan cities ie Jalalabad, Islam Qala, Kandahar and Kabul will further facilitate international trade and travel and the biggest spin-off will be the livelihood revolution and economic prosperity for FATA region in particular and for all the neighboring countries in general. A network of roads is being constructed all around FATA to link the important towns not only with the trade corridor but with the settled areas as well. The 80 km long Bannu-Miranshah-Ghulam Khan Road figures prominently in this regard.
The 75 km Wana-Shakai-Makeen Road completed by FWO links Wana – the capital of South Waziristan agency with North Waziristan Agency from where the 73 km Makeen-Razmak-Miranshah Road stretches till the Afghan border. It will become a short and convenient route to Kabul once the road linking Khost and Gardez is completed.
Tank-Jandola-Makeen Road is another development for the improved logistics of FATA region. The 110 km was reduced to a mere dirt track that has now been rebuild and upgraded by FWO. The narrow tunnels of Jandola and Ahmedwam and all major bridges were widened for the trade trucks to pass through.
The recent inauguration of Gomal Zam Dam is a big step for the peace and prosperity of South Waziristan. With its huge reservoir of 1.14 MAF water and a completely lined canal network of 260 km, the dam will irrigate 1,63,086 acres of Tank & D.I. Khan districts. The electricity generated from flowing water will be sufficient for 2500 households of South Waziristan. The dam has effectively controlled flash floods which caused large scale devastation in the past.
The dam is located in an area that was once the epicenter of terrorism. The work on dam was abandoned by the Chinese constructors when their camp was attacked by militants in 2004, it was then handed over to FWO and completed with great effort and sacrifices. Besides the socio-economic opportunities the dam is a significant boost for environment and tourism.
The Electric supply infrastructure was severely damaged during insurgency. FWO workforce has rebuilt the 11 KV Feeder from Jandola-Sararogha-Jannata-Ladha and 33 KV Feeder from Jandola-chaghmalai-Barwand. The Wana Grid Station has been upgraded to 132 KVA and transmission line from Gomal Zam Dam to Wana has been laid.
The scheme utilizes the rain / flood water for irrigation and drinking needs. It will also recharge the ground water and restore the dried up wells and Karezes of Waziristan Agency.
Located in South Waziristan agency the dam will generate 83.4 MW Hydel Power and have the capacity to store 1.2 MAF water to irrigate an area of 3,62,380 acres. Feasibility studies are complete and the dam is poised to bring opportunities of improved livelihood.
Some of the impacts of FATA development projects are: For the volatile FATA region where security situation is still unpredictable (but fast improving), FWO stands out as a prominent institution involved in the development and progress of the region. Travel and transport activities have greatly benefited by improved road network. 80% of South Waziristan residents believe that development work has positively improved common men’s life and improved economic and business conditions. The development projects created long term employments in transport and communication sectors whereas construction of roads, bridges and dams provided short run employments. Development process has helped to improve the security conditions in FATA and militancy effect has decreased. School enrolment has increased due to better access and transportation. FATA people are happy to see development and progress after many years of turmoil. In the area that was once under heavy influence of militants a roadside café by the name of Pakistan Hotel symbolizes the relief and gratitude of FATA people for being out of militancy.
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, November 04, 2013,
Links to this post: