The chairlifts at Ayubia will be will replaced after nearly five decades of operation.
According to the Galiyat Development Authority (GDA), the government has allocated Rs500 million for the project under the Annual Development Programme 2011-12.
Official sources said that the GDA has contracted out the project to a private company. The bid was won for Rs98 million for a period of five years.
(Read: Graft charges - Probe into Ayubia chairlift repair project, allotment of shops ordered)
Spread over nearly 33 square kilometres, Ayubia National Park, popularly known as Ayubia, comprises four picturesque hill stations, Ghora Daka, Khanaspur, Khaira Gali and Changla Gali.
The current chairlift, situated on a spur in thick alpine forests, was installed in the 1960s at Ghora Daka. Having a length of one and a half kilometres, the manually operated chairlift consists of 55 two-seater units and attracts tourists of all ages and income groups from across the country.
In winter, the units hover over a beautiful white blanket covering the hills beneath; picnickers from all over the country flock to Ayubia for the splendid view.
The chairlift’s condition, however, with the passage of time and poor maintenance, has deteriorated and it is no longer considered safe for people.
“These units are really dangerous as the sides are not properly protected and they don’t protect you from rain,” said Sehrish, a student of medical college.
GDA Director Akhlaq Khan said, “Following the increasing demand from tourists, the government decided to bring the chairlift on modern lines, for which the government invited proposals last month.”
He said the project will be finished by the next summer.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2011.