PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Monday approved the construction of 339 kilometers long multibillion rupees Peshawar-Dera Ismail Khan motorway. The development came during the chief minister’s meeting with lawmakers from the region at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat here. Spokesman for the government Ajmal Wazir and state minister for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Afridi told reporters that the mega project not only promised better connectivity of the region with the rest of the province but also integrated border crossing situated in merged districts with the main centres of the province. Mr Wazir said the motorway, which would begin from Chamkani area of Peshawar, pass through Darra Adamkhel, Kohat, Hangu, Karak, Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Tank, and end in DI Khan, would lead to the development of southern districts. He said the meeting discussed the alignment of 339 kilometers long motorway, which would have 15 interchanges to provide economic opportunities for populated and least developed areas alike. The spokesman said the chief minister directed the relevant authorities to finalise the interchange locations in consultation with the people’s representatives. He said the route would lead to better integration of merged districts with other parts of province. Mr Wazir said the government had planned the 24/7 opening of the Ghulam Khan border crossing in North Waziristan district and Angor Adda border crossing in South Waziristan district on the pattern of Torkham crossing point. He said the government has approved the project and its feasibility would be done later. The spokesman said work on the dualisation of the Indus Highway was underway with the chief minister ordering its early completion. He said the construction of both roads would bring development to the region. Mr Wazir said both Hazara and Swat motorways were complete and that they would integrate the province. Health minister Hasham Inamullah, who was also in attendance, said though the detailed design of the proposed motorway had yet to be finalised, the project’s initial cost had been estimated to be around Rs250 billion. Safron minister Shehryar Afridi said the successive governments ignored southern districts to the misery of the residents. He said the residents, too, had the right to the state’s resources. Mr Afridi said the 339 kilometers long motorway would link all southern districts and merged districts and boost the region’s economy bringing it on par with the rest of the country. He said the road project would change the fate of those deprived and ignored areas. A statement issued here quoted the chief minister as directing the authorities concerned to finalise the interchanges plan in consultation with the people’s representatives from southern districts. He said the motorway was a flagship project of the government for southern districts, which would pave the way for the region’s development and provide rapid travel facility to people. The meeting was briefed about alignment options for the proposed motorway, its design parameters, objectives, interchanges and tunnels, coverage of various districts and suburbs and other important aspects of the project. The chief minister said the project would provide rapid transportation facilities and promote tourism and trade in the region.