MANSEHRA: Heavy snowfall in the scenic Kaghan valley on Sunday turned the weather extremely cold. It started snowing at noon and continued intermittently throughout the day.

“While people in rest of the country are suffering the scorching heat but here we are having severe cold in this heavenly valley,” Mohammad Sami, a tourist from Islamabad, told reporters in Naran.

Mr Sami said as the tourism activities were set to resume from Monday (today) the nature lovers from rest of the country would rush here to enjoy the cold weather.

He, however, asked the visitors to follow the Covid-19-induced standard operating procedures so the government was not forced to impose restrictions on their movement.

In a separate development, the hoteliers have welcomed the government’s decision to restore tourism activities in the province, and promised that they would strictly follow the standard operating procedures to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

“We welcome the government’s timely decision of reopening tourist sites to the visitors in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the industry has suffered huge financial losses because of the pandemic over the last one year,” Saith Matiullah, president of the hoteliers’ association, Kaghan valley, told reporters on Sunday.

Flanked by the association’s chairman Hussain Deen, he said hoteliers had held meetings with the district administration and the police to evolve a strategy on how to ensure enforcement of SOPs in the valley.

“The Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad Road has been cleared of snow up to Battakundi, with the remaining stretch up to Babusar Top will shortly be restored,” Mr Matiuallah said. He said thousands of workers and professionals would be able to resume their duties in the valley after restoration of tourism activities.

Speaking on the occasion, Hussain Deen said restoration of tourism activities would enable thousands of people attached with the industry to earn a respectable living for their families.

“We, the hoteliers and other people affiliated with the industry will strictly follow the Covid-19-induced SOPs set by the government to contain the spread of the pandemic, and will also expect tourists to show utmost responsibility to the precautions,” said Mr Deen.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2021

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