PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan here on Wednesday directed the relevant officials to make operational Provincial Tourism Authority (PTA) within a month.

A statement issued here said that he issued the directives while chairing a meeting of tourism department at Chief Minister’s House.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Adviser to Chief Minister Ajmal Wazir, Special Assistant to Chief Minister Kamran Bangash, Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz, Additional Chief Secretary Shakeel Qadir Khan and other senior officials.

The chief minister directed the official to complete all codal formalities by the end of current month for finalisation of integrated tourism plan, hiring of tourism experts, establishment of playgrounds in every tehsil of the province, initiation of work on culture revival plan, food streets in tourist spots of the province and initiation of work on Kalam Development Authority.

He said that all targets must be achieved within the specific timeline as no delay would be entertained. He also ordered crackdown against encroachments on the banks of the Swat River along with imposing complete ban on mining activities.

The meeting was informed that outsourcing of rest houses and initiation of home stay pilot project at tourist destinations would be made possible in the coming season whereas identification of suitable spots for camping grounds would be undertaken in consultation with the commissioners concerned.

The meeting was told that tourist information centres throughout the province were functional whereas all necessary arrangements were completed for installation of camping pods. It was said that the integrated tourism contingency plan would be finalised within two weeks whereas establishment of automated tourist facilitation hub would be completed in the next 12 weeks.

The meeting was also informed regarding the steps taken for beautification of Swat Bazaar and anti-encroachment drive. The participants of the meeting agreed on initiation of non-ADP schemes on the pattern of Peshawar revival plan for the beautification of Swat Bazaar that would be initiated under the supervision of local government department and would be completed during the next two years.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2020