Yet another initiative to develop Sheikh Badin as tourist resort
PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)-led government has taken an initiative to develop the scenic Sheikh Badin that is the sole tourist resort in the southern districts of the province.
Talking to The News, PTI Member National Assembly (MNA), Colonel (R) Dr Amirullah Marwat said he recently discussed the Sheikh Badin issue with Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, who directed the secretary Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to include the project in the Annual Development Programme (ADP). “I am sure the letter has been sent to the district administration Lakki Marwat in this regard,” he added.
It may be recalled that chief minister Akram Khan Durrani had ordered the development of Sheikh Badin as a tourist spot during the rule of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) from 2002-2007.
The copies of official documents available with The News show that a meeting attended by Additional Chief Secretary, Secretary Culture and Tourism Department, Additional Secretary Planning and Development Department, Managing Director Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (earlier Sarhad Tourism Corporation) and executive engineer Works and Services Department, Dera Ismail Khan discussed the issue way back on May 9, 2007.
The executive engineer informed the meeting that the Sheikh Badin project was launched as non-Annual Development Programme (ADP) scheme at a cost of Rs77.191 million on January 15, 2005 and later it was reflected as ADP scheme.
The Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) approved four main components of the project for the development of Sheikh Badin tourist spot on June 30, 2006. This included construction of 12 kilometres road at a cost of Rs108.019 million, supply of drinking water costing Rs38.045 million, supply of electricity needing Rs4.098 million and restoration of old Rest House at a cost of Rs3.112 million.
The then Secretary Sarhad Tourism Corporation, Abdul Jalil Khan, wrote a letter on May 15, 2006 to chief minister Akram Durrani recommending the transfer of 10,000 kanals land in Sheikh Badin to the Sarhad Tourism Corporation from the Forest and Wildlife Department.
He proposed setting up Sheikh Badin Development Authority to manage plotting, infrastructure and electrification and sought Rs100 millions for the purpose. He suggested provision of Rs50 million for the establishment of 100-room Tourism Complex at Sheikh Badin.
Another meeting was held at the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office on January 23, 2008 to discuss the issue. It was attended by the then provincial minister for Sports, Culture, Tourism and Museums, Syed Mureed Kazim.
The minister and managing director of STC had finalised their visit to inspect the Sheikh Badin on July 28, 2008, but it was cancelled due to the minister’s engagements in Peshawar.
A team of experts from the Environment Department visited Sheikh Badin to gather data about the climate there. Located at 4,000 feet above the sea level, Sheikh Badin is cooler than other places in southern parts of the province.
The tourists from across the province and country would love to visit Sheikh Badin once it is developed as a summer hill resort.
Lawyer Muhammad Jamshed, who along with his friends visited Sheikh Badin last year in summer, told this correspondent that the weather was so cold that they had to wrap up in blankets during the night. “The hillock presented a scenic look. The government should develop it like other tourist spots,” he maintained.
Muhammad Khan, a taxi driver, said that he has been taking tourists to Sheikh Badin. “Not so often but at least weekly and fortnightly some tourists, mostly non-locals, come up and hire taxi cars for Sheikh Badin,” he added.
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