Swat Motorway Phase-II hits a snag as federal govt holds back funds

Swat Motorway Phase-II

PESHAWAR: The Swat Motorway Phase-II project, a vital road link between Chakdara Malakand and Swat Fatehpur, has hit a snag as the federal government has failed to release the already approved funds for the land acquisition of the crucial mega project.

According to official sources, last week, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Planning and Development Department sent a written letter to the federal secretary of Planning Division and the secretary of Finance Division, raising apprehension about the non-allocation of funds for the second phase of the Swat Motorway project.

Sources said that the KP government is facing difficulties in acquiring the land for the project owing to the delay in the release of funds by the federal government. The KP Planning and Development Department, in the letter, has drawn the attention of the federal government to the vital project.

KP Development Department has outlined the urgency of securing the allocated funds, amounting to 20 billion rupees, in order to proceed with the acquisition of land for the Swat Motorway Phase II.

Despite the federal government’s approval of the Swat Motorway Phase II project in 2020, only 7 billion rupees have been disbursed to the provincial government over the past two years. This shortfall in funds has raised serious concerns about the timely completion of the Swat Motorway Phase II.

The Swat Motorway Phase II, spanning 80 kilometers from Chakdara Malakand to Swat, is estimated to cost a total of 56 billion rupees. The provincial government is actively exploring public-private partnerships (PPP) to finalise the planning for the mega project.

In the letter, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has expressed deep concern over the prolonged withholding of funds essential for acquiring land for Swat Motorway Phase-II.

The letter explicitly stated that the federal government owes Rs13 billion out of the Rs20 billion approved for procuring land for the construction of the project.

Officials said that the non-disbursement of these funds by the federal government poses has inadvertently delayed the completion of the Rs56 billion mega project.

Sources said that the KP Highway Authority and the C&W Department have alerted the provincial government about potential delay in completing the project due to the absence of funds.

Officials involved in the Swat Motorway Phase-II project told HUM News English that the federal government granted approval for the project in 2020, signing an agreement under the PSDP to release Rs20 billion for the land acquisition of the project. However, over the past two years, the provincial government has only received Rs7 billion in funds from the federal government.

Sources reveal that, with the release of only Rs7 billion by the federal government, only 27 kilometers of land could be acquired for the planned 80-kilometre Swat Motorway Phase-II project.

The 80-kilometre Swat Motorway Phase-II, stretching from Chakdara Malakand to Swat Fatehpur, is estimated to cost Rs56 billion. The provincial government aims to complete the project through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

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Officials said that the allocated funds (Rs7 billion) for the project by the federal government were inadequate for acquiring the land.

Sources in the provincial government said that KP Caretaker Chief Minister Arshad Hussain Shah, after a recent tour of Swat and taking stock of the delay in the land acquisition for the project, has decided to raise the funding issue with the federal government in the coming days.

The KP caretaker chief minister has directed the KP Planning and Development and KP Finance Departments to prepare a comprehensive case to address the critical issue.

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