MANSEHRA, Oct 1 NWFP Minister for Tourism Syed Aqil Shah has announced ban on trout fishing in the Kaghan valley.

“I, on behalf of the chief minister, announce ban on fishing of trout in the valley for two years with immediate effect as because of large-scale fishing through electric shocks and other means, this rare specie is being wiped out rapidly,” he said while speaking at the “National Conference on Promotion of Sustainable Tourism in Kaghan Valley” held at the PTDC hotel in Naran on Thursday.

He said the 2002 flash floods in Naran valley had also affected the trout population.

The minister said the 2005 earthquake and militancy had affected the NWFP tourism industry. However, he said, because of government's steps tourism would soon be revived in the province.

He said Rs1.25 billion would be spent on Naran- Saiful Maluk Lake chairlift and water boating projects. He said a small dam would also be built on the River Kunhar near Naran.

Mr Shah said construction around the Saiful Maluk Lake had been banned to curb pollution of the lake, adding a garbage reprocessing plant would be also installed to address the issue. He said currently 2,000 to 3,000 tourists visited the scenic valley every day and after installation of chairlift and other steps the government was taking the number would reach 10,000, enabling local people to earn more livelihood.

He said the Shandur polo festival was officially organised after a break of 10 years and food and other festivals were being held across the province to revive the tourism industry.

The conference, organised by I-Led (Improving Livelihood and Enterprise Development) and CNFA (Cultivable Non-Forest Area) in collaboration with the Sarhad Tourism Development Corporation, was attended by over 200 delegates from across the country who gave proposals for reviving the tourism industry in the province.