PESHAWAR, Aug 1: The Sarhad Tourism Corporation and Wildlife Department in collaboration with private sector are designing mega projects to explore the tourism potential of the Hazara region.
Talking to Dawn Minister for Tourism Syed Aqil Shah said that two major projects had been identified in Naran valley that would boost domestic tourism and generate more economic activities for the local population.
First project was setting a five to six kilometer long cable car between Naran and Saiful Muluk Lake while second project was establishment of water sports resort at Lallu Sar Lake. The cash-strapped provincial government, according to the minister, would finance these projects from its own resources.
On the directives of Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti survey of the projects would be completed by the end of October and physical work was likely to be started from April next. The tourism minister along with members of the provincial assembly have already visited both sites and submitted a report to the chief minister.
Under the proposed plan Saiful Muluk Lake, located 10,500 feet above the sea level, would be linked with Naran Valley through a cable car system. Base camp fort for the car cable would be set up at 8,700 feet above the sea level. A parking lot with a capacity of 200 vehicles would be established near the base camp.Mr Aqil Shah said that cable car would pass over the snow-capped mountains that would provide enchanting and colorful view of the valley, glaciers and waterfalls. ?The region has vast opportunities for exploring tourism sector and the government has the will to develop these sites,? he said.
For generation of electricity to run the proposed cable car, he said that the lake had potential of generating between 2 to 3 MW of electricity. For this purpose a hydel power generating unit would be installed which would be sufficient to run the cable car and facilitate the local population, he added.
The government would not allow construction of restaurants and small business outlets near the bank of the lake, he said, adding, a small plateau would be developed at a walking distance from the lake where construction of antique shops, restaurants and food corners would be allowed. He said that ecology of the area would be preserved and the government would not allow economic activities which could cause environmental pollution.
The minister said that the proposed sports resort at Lallu Sar Lake would be four kilometer long, providing ideal location for water sports including rafting, surfing and convoying.
He said that high-tech boats would be provided to water sports lovers. The resort would have restaurants, 40 cottages and state-of-theart facilities, besides having the capacity to generate up to 2MW of electricity, the minister said