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MURREE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced a package worth billions of rupees for the development of various sectors in Murree and Kotli Sattian, including health, education, infrastructure, and tourism.

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told Dawn that the package would improve residents’ standard of living. When asked, Abbasi said that the federal and Punjab governments would equally share the expenditure on these mega projects.

Abbasi, who is a Member National Assembly (MNA) from Murree said the development projects had been proposed by elected representatives from the area.

He said under the development package, a state of the art hospital would be constructed at Green Valley, near the Murree general bus stand, for which 38 kanals of land have already been transferred to the health department.

He said the hospital would be equipped with various specialised departments that will cater to both residents and tourists.

In addition, a medical college and teaching hospital has also been approved at Samli Sanatorium.

The Samli Sanatorium is a hospital for tuberculosis patients, with 50 beds. After it has been converted into a teaching hospital and medical school, it will specialise in chest diseases.

Abbasi said the prime minister had directed the hospital’s board of trustees be taken into confidence regarding opening the medical college, and added that Murree and Kotli Sattian’s youth would benefit greatly from the provision of medical education in their localities.

To tackle the water supply issue in the resort town, the prime minister has also approved a bulk water supply scheme from the Jhelum River, and, according to the Abbasi, the scheme — which is already under construction — will be carried out after a detailed technical survey.

Water supply schemes from the British colonial era will also be upgraded and additional requirements will be met through the Jhelum River scheme. Abbasi said that the prime minister had called for a detailed study on the replacement of the existing pipelines from Doonga Gali to Murree and from Hari to Murree.

Abbasi said that the water supply projects would be completed by December 31, this year.

The Lower Topa to Kohala portion of the Kashmir Highway will also be constructed, and the prime minister has directed that the road be handed over to the Punjab government by the National Highway Authority (NHA) so that work may begin immediately.

In order to reduce the flow of traffic into Murree city, a cable car project will be initiated from Bostal Mor to Pindi Point. The project will also serve as an alternative tourist attraction. A parking plaza and amusement park will also be developed at Bostal Mor, on the Murree Expressway.

Abbasi said that another cable car project was under consideration, from Mussiyari to Lower Topa, and from Lower Topa to Pindi Point.

Mall Road will also be modernised and revamped. Abbasi said that the Murree general post office (GPO) will be given a 1960’s look, on special directives from the prime minister.

A modern double road will be constructed from Murree to Kotli Sattian and from Kotli Sattian to Rawalpindi.

The prime minister has directed the departments concerned to formulate a workable feasibility report on the development of Kotli Sattian as an alternative hill station. Abbasi said that this would improve the standard of living in the area, provide employment, and reduce the heavy flow of tourists into Murree.

He said that the people of Murree and Kotli Sattian elected him for a sixth time as an MNA, and said that he considered politics to be a service to his people, and would continue to bring relief to the people.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2015

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