In order to ensure easy access to the tourist destinations of the province, work is under way on the construction of various access roads which would be completed at an estimated cost of Rs13 billion.
Similarly, under the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Integrated Tourism Development (KITE) project, two important projects including Mankyal to Bada Sehri Road and Thandiani Road were also in progress which would be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs4,631 million and Rs3,182 million, respectively.
This was revealed at a progress review meeting of tourism department held here with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair.
Special Assistant to CM Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, MPA Mian Sharaft Ali, Principal Secretary to CM Amjad Ali Khan, administrative secretaries and other relevant officials attended the meeting.
Briefing about the details of tourism road projects under the Annual Development Plan (ADP), the forum was informed that work on various approach roads to the tourist destinations in Hazara division was in progress which would be completed at a cumulative cost of Rs4.6 billion.
Important projects include 15-km Manoor Valley Road Mansehra, 10-km Shugran Road Mansehra, Ghanol Paprang Road Mansehra, Mandi Mali Road Mansehra and 12-km Nawazabad to Mandi Road Mansehra.
Similarly, work on 11 different access road projects in Malakand division was also in progress and would be completed at an estimated cost of Rs4.8 billion cumulatively.
Important projects including 78-km Marghuzar to Elum Road, 6-km Madian-Bishigram Road, Areen Daral Road, Bela Bishigram Road, Chail-Bishigram Road, Fazal Banda to Jarogo Waterfall Road and Kafir Banda Road Shangla.
The forum was informed that construction of approach road to Sheikh Badin tourist site was in progress. The estimated cost of project is Rs3 billion.
While briefing about the projects under Kite project, it was informed that bid evaluation report for 20-km Mankyal to Bada Sehri Road and 24-km Thandiani road has been submitted to the relevant forum for approval, adding that contract of these projects would be awarded this month after the approval of bidding evaluation report.
Similarly, under the Kite project, 4 Integrated Tourism Zones are being established in the province including Thandiani (Abbottabad), Mankyal (Swat), Ghanol (Mansehra) and Madakalasht (Chitral).
Final draft of Management Plan and Investment Plan of these projects has also been submitted to relevant forum for approval.
It was further informed in the meeting that Tourist Facilitation Hub has been established and for the first time 24/7 helpline (1422) has been introduced and fully operationalized since March 2021.
Moreover, it was revealed that 150 pre-fabricated washrooms were being installed at different tourism areas in the province out of which installation of 35 units has been completed so far. Similarly, under the project to extend support of Rescue Service 1122 to the tourist sites, two ambulances and one fire fighting vehicle have been provided to each tourist centre.
The chief minister termed the promotion of tourism an integral part of the priorities of his government and directed accelerating the pace of work on all feasible projects of access roads to the tourist sites.
He further directed officials to make Special Development Authorities operational as soon as possible, adding that funds and human resources required for the purpose should be provided on priority so as to achieve the goal for which special development authorities were established.
He also directed ensuring safety measures in boats in rivers and dams, further directing to impose ban on boating without life jackets.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2022.
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