Tourists in Murree will now have another avenue to enjoy besides the hills. A 3D cinema is set to open in Murree, with the Punjab government allocating Rs300 million for its construction, officials told The Express Tribune.
Previously, the Punjab government had allotted Rs150 million for the project, but the cost has been revised and an added Rs150 million has been set aside for its completion. The Information and Culture Department has set the end of the financial year, June, as the deadline to complete the project. However, it may take till year -end to finish it, a department official said.
“The cinema will be constructed in the auditorium of Murree Arts Council. It will promote cultural activities at the tourist site. Local artistes will be encouraged to stage plays at the theatre, which will give tourists a better opportunity to understand local traditions and culture,” said an official.
With this added attraction for visitors, Murree will have more to offer. “People at the tourist site would definitely want to watch films in a 3D cinema. This will surely be a good project for the residents of Murree but also for the tourists, who come to visit the location from across the country,” added the official.
Another official disclosed that following government directives for the second time to complete the project, technical bids are now welcome. According to sources, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif sent the directive after being notified of the shortage of funds for the project. He also called for increase in funds and gave instructions that the cinema be set up by the end of the financial year.
The Information department has also engaged a company of Uni Cone for consultation and announced second-time technical bids, while the company has also been assigned to purchase technical equipment. However, officials, who are part of this project, said that although the government increased the funds, the department is not in a position to set up a cinema till June.
Khurram Bari, owner of Bari Studio, commended the decision of constructing a 3D cinema at Muree Hills and said that the move will encourage other cinema owners to convert traditional cinemas into digital. He also requested that the government help historic cinemas make the transition into digital ones.
Writer-director Rukhsana Noor sees the move as good news for tourists. She said that for the revival of cinema in Pakistan, we should follow India’s suit, as the Indian government has been offering full support to their cinema industry.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2015.
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