TAXILA, March 12: The Senate Standing Committee on Tourism and Culture recommended Rs200 million bailout package for tourism sector urging the government not to devolve the PTDC to the provinces and to ease visa restrictions for the Sikh pilgrims.
These views were expressed by Convener Senate Standing Committee on Tourism and Culture Senator Farah Aqil while talking to newsmen here on Saturday. Other members of the committee including Senator Dr Abdul Khaliq Pirzada and Senator Sabina Rauf were also present on the occasion.The committee members visited Taxila and Hassanabdal to review the facilities for the tourists and pilgrims.
She said that the terrorism and massive last year flood had cast negative impacts on the tourism sector especially in Gilgit-Baltistan and KhyberPAkhtunkhwa. She said that the committee was planning to bring the tourism sector back on the track.
She said that the committee had recommended that the PTDC should be retained with the federal government due to its corporate status. Responding to a question, she said that the Senate committee also opposed privatisation of the PTDC hotels.
She said that the committee would soon hold a meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to apprise him of the challenges and financial constraints being faced by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and particularly by the PTDC. She said that the PM Gilani would also be briefed about the financial constraints of the PTDC as it was not able to launch tourism promotional activities and develop tourism sites in the country.
She said that committee also directed the PTDC to reconsider its plan to construct the rooms for the tourists at the Tourist Facilitation Centers (TFCs).
The committee members al so visited Taxila Museum. On this occasion, Deputy Director Department of Archaeology and Museums Mohammad Bahadur Khan briefed the members about the chronology and history of ancient Gandhara civilization.
Earlier, the committee members visited Gurdwara Punja Sahib to review the arrangements made by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) for the Sikh pilgrims. The committee members were informed by Deputy Administrator ETPB Tanveer Ahmed that around two thousand pilgrims from India would arrive to offer their rituals this year.
He said that the ETPB was making all-out efforts to provide maximum facilities to the Sikh pilgrims.
The committee members also met the local Sikhs and inquired about their problems. The Sikh community representatives on the occasion demanded Shamshan Ghat in Hassanabdal.