THATTA: Thousands of tourists and visitors to the Keenjhar lake have lost one of a few man-made attractions added to the natural beauty of the tourist site a few years ago.
‘Noori Floating Hut’, which had become a major attraction at Keenjhar, was designed and developed by the UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme under its housing technology research wing and inaugurated in June 2009 by the then Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Afridi.
Until recently, the floating hut had been frequented by thousands of foreign tourists and local visitors every month who were seen enjoying great moments and holding photo sessions while being onboard.
This had also given a boost to other activities around the hut providing livelihood to many local people. The hut was designed in a way that it withstood harsh weather conditions and even the cyclone, Phet, that had caused widespread damage across the coastal belt a few years ago.
The official caretakers of the hut, the RDF, which was supposed to maintain and operate the tourist attraction, has dismantled it after a minor fault caused its partial sinking.
According to local community leaders, who have been expressing their concern over the loss of a great tourist attraction as well as livelihood of a large number of area people, a section of the hut’s inflatable bodies holding the structure got punctured and caused its one side to tilt a few months ago.
The RDF chose to dismantle the hut instead of getting the fault rectified.
No RDF executive was available to explain the decision. “It’s beyond one’s comprehension,” said Anis Helayo, a local community leader associated with a Keenjhar conservation organisation, commenting on the decision.
“It’s against the interests of the general public,” he argued.
He observed that no maintenance or renovation work had ever been carried out for the hut’s upkeep since its induction five years ago.
The upper structure of the hut has been taken away and the debris of its base dumped outside the local fisheries office at the lake.
UNDP-GEF programme’s national coordinator Masood Lohar also regretted dismantling of the hut. Keenjhar has lost a vital component of its beauty as the hut had provided a scenic view at the lake.
The absence of the hut will drastically curtail the number of visitors to the lake and indirectly affect livelihood of many people, according to him.
Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2014