PESHAWAR: To preserve the rich heritage of the province and promote recreational activities, the budget for fiscal year 2015-16 has proposed increases in allocations for most of the relevant fields.
The development budget for sports, tourism, archaeology and youth affairs is Rs1.3 billion. The welfare budget has proposed an allocation of Rs0.47 billion for sports, tourism and museums while Rs0.21 billion is meant for information, culture and public relations. Moreover, the current revenue expenditures for recreation, culture and religion are at Rs0.78 billion.
During his speech, Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said said the government is committed to promote arts and sustain cultural diversity by preserving all the languages of the province. “Mega projects will be initiated to promote the culture of the province,” he said, adding the government plans to renovate the historic Mohabbat Khan Mosque and also the 17th century Hindu temple situated in Gor Gathri.
Moreover, the development budget of Rs1.3 billion for sports and tourism will cater to 54 projects out of which 31 are going on with the allocation of Rs0.75 billion and 23 are new with Rs0.575 billion.
The government plans to set up the first archaeological laboratory in Peshawar as the tests of relics recovered in excavations are at present carried out abroad. Attention will also be given to 11 sites in Swat so they can be excavated.
“The sites of our Gandharan civilisation are the attractions for tourists from around the world and hence more work will be done on them in the coming years,” said the minister, adding infrastructure of those areas will also be improved to promote tourism.
A plan for the first archaeological park, announced by the Directorate of Archaeology a few months back, is part of the budget. The platform for performing arts was also considered as the minister said Nishar Hall being the only public hall will also be renovated.
Under the budget, 76 sports grounds will also be established across the province and sports grounds will also be set up in schools.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2015.
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