MANSEHRA: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Monday said the government had finalised drastic measures to promote Kaghan valley as an international tourist destination.

“We’re taking steps to preserve the ecology, flora and fauna of Kaghan valley to attract foreign tourists,” he told the local lawmakers and PTI leaders in Naran, the commercial hub of Kaghan valley, here on Monday.

Mr Mahmood said the government wanted to address the issues of tourists and local businessmen.

“If the business community joins hands with us to promote tourism and strictly follow the rules, tourist activities will significantly increase in the valley,” he said.

Commissioner of Hazara division Riaz Mehsud briefed the chief minister, who was accompanied by Prime Minister Imran Khan and KP Governor Shah Farman, said trees would be planted in Kaghan valley.

Says issues of tourists, traders being addressed

He said bylaws for river rafting in the valley had been finalised for the safety of tourists.

The commissioner said trees were being planted along the Kunhar River in the valley to protect riverbanks.

“We’re releasing trout in the Kunhar River to protect it. Trout hatches 3,000 eggs every season that can increase in a multiple manner,” he said.

Mr Mehsud said the administration was introducing a place to release and catch trout in the Kunhar River.

“We have begun distributing around one million biodegradable bags in Kaghan valley under an environmental protection initiative,” he said.

The commissioner said the community river rangers were being provided with motorbikes to patrol along the Kunhar River from Balakot to Babusar Top to check illegal fishing, tree cutting and mining.

“We’re reviving 18 pre-British era colonial tracks in the valley,” he said.

Mr Mehsud said tulip gardening would begin in the area next month with the growers likely to earn Rs60,000 from the produce on a one-kanal plot.

He said the Battakundi-Lalazar chairlift project was also under consideration.

“We want to link the Saiful Muluk lake with Ansoo lake and build a seven kilometers long pony track for tourists to reach there,” he said.

BIKE RACE: The Saiful Muluk Lake Mountain Bike Race ended here on Sunday.

Sixty men and women from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Islamabad participated in the event jointly organised by the national and provincial cycling federations and mountaineering clubs.

Special assistant to the chief minister Ahmad Hussain Shah gave away trophies to the winners.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2021

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