Joy of winter: Fort Munro receives first snowfall of season

Large number of people throng the hill resort to enjoy weather

A blanket of snow covers hills around Fort Munro. (Below) People enjoy the first snowfall of the winter season. PHOTO: TARIQ ISMAEEL/EXPRESS

DERA GHAZI KHAN: Fort Munro was blanketed in white as the area received its first snowfall of the season.

The hill resort, which is in the mountainous Sulaiman Range and Anari Hills, saw snowfall at intermittent intervals.

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Areas were covered in over a foot of snow. The resort was built at an altitude of 6,470 feet during British rule and was named after an English civil servant, Munro.

A large number of people from Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Rajan Pur, Multan, Bahawalpur and adjacent areas thronged Fort Munro to enjoy the snowfall.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Shaikh Tahir Miraj said it was wonderful to experience the snowfall, but the lack of food and water spoled the enjoyment. He added that lack of attention from the government has turned this place into “a curse”.

“We don’t even have clean drinking water and are roaming around with kids in the open as most guesthouses have increased their rates. We cannot afford the high prices to enjoy this lovely weather,” he added.

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Another visitor, Shaikh Muhammad Shahid, demanded that the government provide facilities like those found in Murree. He urged the private sector to invest, adding authorities only announced projects which never saw the light of day.

Sans facilities

Since the snow started falling on Friday night, residents remained without electricity and water for over 18 hours. Shahid said that they could not even charge their mobile phones and have lost contact with relatives. On Saturday, residents also protested against the prolonged power breakdown in the area.

A local said that the charges of water tankers had increased as one was being sold at a cost of Rs5,000. He added water supply in the area had been closed for the last three months.

A tourist destination

Last month, the Urban Unit called for expressions of interest (EoIs) from leading companies to develop a ‘master plan to developing Fort Munro as an ecotourism destination.

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The target is to increase economic activity in the area, which will in turn support tourism.

Under the project, a consulting firm will provide detailed drawings of tourism destination zones, including viewing sites, parks, gardens, resorts, hotels, motels, rest houses, eateries, public toilets, telecommunication points, banks and money changers.

It will also develop routes or trails to connect various attraction points to improve the visitors’ experience.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2017.


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