LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Friday inaugurated a roads infrastructure improvement plan for six tourist spots under the Punjab Tourism for Economic Growth Project, in collaboration with the World Bank.

He laid the foundation stone of the project in a ceremony, according to a handout.

Speaking on the occasion, he said 35km long roads would be repaired in the first phase at a cost of Rs830m. He said a tourism zone was being developed in the Salt Range (Chakwal, Khushab and Mianwali) and new tourist-spots were being developed at Kotli Sattian, Chakwal, Jhelum, Soan Valley, Mianwali, Attock, Fort Munro and Koh-e-Sulaiman.

Along with it, the CM added, steps would also be taken to promote tourism in Jhelum, Multan, Bahawalpur and other areas.

Mr Buzdar said a programme was underway to restore the Lahore Fort and other historical spots with an amount of Rs4bn. Tourist-spots would also be developed under a public-private partnership, he disclosed.

The CM said 176 rest houses had been opened to the public through an online booking facility. An authority had also been set up to promote tourism while a software had been designed for online issuance of licences to the stakeholders.

He said Chakwal would be developed as a lake city as a number of natural lakes were in the district. Such a resort facility was under construction at Taunsa barrage to offer water sports activities, he added.

The CM stated that double-decker tourist bus service had been started in Rawalpindi and the facility would be extended to Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan soon.

Special Assistant to PM Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari and World Bank Country Director Najy Benhassine also spoke through a video link.

Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan, provincial minister Mian Aslam Iqbal, SACM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, parliamentarians and WB representatives attended the ceremony.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2020

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