Darra Tang attracting

‘Darra Tang’ attracting tourists due to its natural beauty

Ghulam Mursalin Marwat

LAKKI MARWAT: Located on the border of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab at a distance of 22 kilometers in the east from Lakki city, Darra Tang is a beautiful tourist resort due to its Natural beauty and Location.

The border area is rich in natural beauty and resources having a lot of attraction for tourists. Mountains, rivers and dense forest make the place beautiful and attractive to visitors. The Kurrum river passes through the area and conjoins with Indus river near Kalabagh. The forests scattered along the river are the natural habitats of wild species including birds and animals. The man made forests are another specialty of the border locality adding to its beauty and tourist look.

“Under clean and green Pakistan campaign the local administration with support of forest department has planted thousands of saplings in the area”, claimed deputy commissioner Jehangir Azam Wazir. He said that schoolteachers, students, forest department employees, area people and municipal workers took enthusiastic part in plantation activity and sowed around 50000 plants along Darra-Tang Chashma road on two separate occasions. The official said that the plants grown by forest department under Tsunami Billion Tree Afforestation Project in previous years had become healthy trees.

The area is also full of natural views with river Kurrum having forests on one side and mountains on the other side. The eye catching views make people from parts of Lakki Marwat and adjacent Mianwali district of Punjab to come here for picnic and recreation. Another important aspect of hilly Darra Tang resort which attracts people is the shrines of saints. A large number of followers both in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab come here regularly especially on Friday from remote areas to get consoled and entertained by natural beauty of the locality.

“I along with my friends visit Darra Tang on every Friday to offer prayers (dua) at the shrines of saints and spend the day on river bank with mountains and forests surrounding us”, said Gul Tayyaz from Lakki city, adding, “We prepare, cook and eat food and return homes in the night after enjoying the beauty of Darra Tang for several hours”. Another citizen Ishfaq is of the view that night stay facility is not available in the area, leaving picnickers with no option but to return to their destinations with sun setting. “Visitors especially those belonging to Lakki Marwat district also prefer to return to their areas as night time travelling on potholed Lakki Darra Tang road is very risky”, he adds.

Students and teachers of different educational institutions also visit the border locality for recreational trips. They spend the day walking on sand along river bank and hiking in the nearby mountains. “Recreation trips to Darra Tang help us to learn many things about rivers, mountains, forests and environment”, claims a student Abrar, saying such trips also prove helpful to sensitise students about their role in conservation of environment and protection of forests.

Local residents are unable to take advantage of the beauty and natural views of the area. Darra Tang is among the most backward rural localities of Lakki Marwat with population lacking basic amenities of life. It has a historical background with abandoned British era bridge over railway line and a police post on hilltop, highlighting the importance of border locality and inviting people to come and explore its beauty. About three decades ago, a train would pass through Darra Tang from Mianwali to Bannu district via Lakki Marwat and the bridge on railway line is still present in its real condition.

Now a concrete bridge has linked Lakki Marwat with Mianwali district of Punjab. The abandoned building of police post is speaking volume about the geographical importance of the locality in British regime. The police post on a hilltop along the shrines of saints had been made functional by deployment of cops by the then senior superintendant of police Farooq Ahmad Jan Babar (now retired) around two decades ago. The geographical location of the post helps surveillance of a vast area of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa especially Darra-Tang Chashma road.

The river Kurrum flowing beneath British era abandoned police post, its sandy beach and dense forests give a conspicuous and impressive look to Darra Tang. The border locality is full of wetlands along the river as thick bushy plants serve natural habitat for water birds especially waterfowls and cranes. The area is located on internationally recognized Indus flyway and each year thousands of cranes and ducks follow this route between their breeding and wintering grounds.

Two species of cranes i.e. Demoiselle crane (karkara koonj), Eurasian common crane (zanrran koonj) and more than 30 species of ducks are migratory to this area in spring and fall migration season “In addition to this, the area has potential for local birds including black and grey partridges. Keeping in view the rich biodiversity, the area between Chowkijand to Darra Tang has been declared as Crane Refugee as well as Game Reserve by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife Department for protection, conservation and sustainable management of migratory as well as local indigenous birds species, claims a conservationist Khan Malook Khan.

Khan who heads wildlife department in Dera Ismail Khan Division say controlled hunting on special permits issued by the department is allowed in the Game Reserve area known as Thanedarwala game reserve, adding that the wildlife department has a proper surveillance system in the area to stop illegal poaching of animals and birds. Despite having a lot of natural beauty the area has always been neglected by successive governments and lawmakers from the district. It is beyond any doubt that nature gives immense beauty to the place but is still backward due to lacking of government’s attention.

It can be judged from the fact that Darra Tang and surrounding villages and hamlets are among the most backward and neglected localities of the district. The previous PTI led provincial government had launched work on construction of cadet college along Darra Tang-Chashma road while construction of roads under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (CPEC) has brought the area into the sight of higher authorities of government. The launching of uplift works and construction of roads has increased the influx of people to the locality, making the authorities concerned to pay heed to the development of Darra Tang as a tourist resort.

“The government and administration is aware of the importance of Darra Tang”, claims deputy commissioner Jehangir Azam Wazir, saying that setting up a park in the locality has already been proposed under District Uplift and Beautification Project. He says that along with establishment of a park the administration would also ensure provision of all sorts of facilities to the tourists. Local residents are of the view that with little attention the government can develop the area as a tourist resort by uplifting sandy river shore and establishing wetland parks. They say that development of Darra Tang as tourist resort will boost tourism besides helping to remove backwardness and alleviate poverty in the district.

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