PESHAWAR: 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 Rs.4631 million and Rs.3182 million respectively.
This was told in a progress review meeting of Tourism department held here with Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan in the chair. Special Assistant to CM Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, MPA Mian Sharaft Ali, Principal Secretary to CM Amjad Ali Khan, concerned administrative secretaries and other relevant officials attended the meeting
Briefing about the details of tourism roads projects under the Annual Development Plan, 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 Rs.4.6 billion. Important projects include 15 km long Manoor Valley road Mansehra, 10 Km long Shugran road Mansehra, Ghanol Paprang road Mansehra, Mandi Mali road Mansehra and 12 Km long 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 Rs.4.8 billion cumulatively.
Important projects include 78 Km long Marghuzar to Elum road, 6 Km long Madian-Bishigram road, Areen Daral road, Bela Bishigram road, Chail-Bishigram road, Fazal Banda to Jarogo water fall road and Kafir Banda road Shangla.
The forum was further informed that construction of approach road to Sheikh Badin tourist site was in progress. The estimated cost of project is Rs. 3 billion. While briefing about the projects under Kite project, it was informed that bid evaluation report for 20 Km long Mankyal to Bada Sehri road and 24 Km long Thandiani road has been submitted to the relevant forum 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 adding that for the first time 24/7 helpline (1422) has been provided and fully operationalized since March 2021.
Moreover, it was told that 150 prefabricated wash rooms were being installed at the 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, 2 Ambulances and one fire fighting vehicle have been provided to each tourist centre.
The chief minister on the occasion has termed the promotion of tourism as an integral part of the priorities of his government and directed the authorities concerned to accelerate the pace of work on all feasible projects of access roads to the tourist sites.
He further directed them to make Special Development Authorities (SDA) 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 the quarters concerned to ensure Safety measures in boats plying on rivers and dams further directing to impose ban on boating without life jackets.