GHALLANAI/MINGORA: The district government has issued a warning to all tourists and residents to avoid swimming in Swat River following heavy rainfall in the valley.
Insiders told The Express Tribune police officials patrolled the banks of the river on Tuesday and urged people not to swim in it as the water level has risen.
According to the district government, a large number of tourists visited the valley during Eid holidays and many more are expected to arrive soon. Every year, a large number of locals and tourists visit Swat River during the summer. Following tragic drowning incidents in the past, the relevant authorities decided to introduce a series of arrangements to guarantee the safety of visitors. However, these measures have not been implemented in an effective manner.
The call of water
A large number of tourists thronged to small dams in Ghallanai, the headquarters of Mohmand Agency, on Eid to escape the blazing heat that has gripped the country.
Insiders familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune on Tuesday heavy rain in the region has filled Moto Shah and Khursheed dams to maximum capacity. However, the rise in water level has not kept tourists at bay. A large number of people visited nearby reservoirs in the area to dive in and cool off.
Bashir Khan, a resident of Ghallanai, said these dams become picnic spots for visitors from across the agency and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa during holidays. “Many young people were seen playing rabab and singing folk songs,” he said. Situated in Prang Ghar, both dams were constructed earlier this year.
With a 25-square-kilometre catchment area, Moto Shah dam, has the ability to usher in an agricultural revolution in the mountainous tribal area. On the other hand, Khursheed dam, which was also constructed in the same tehsil of the agency, has caused water levels to rise, adding greenery to the mountainous landscape.
“However, heavy rain in Yousaf Baba area has caused the water level to rise in both dams,” Khan said. “The spillways of both dams were opened to release excess water. Various roads were closed down in the area and many tourists faced difficulties.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2015.