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Wednesday May 22, 2024

Tourists in Swat complain of poor arrangements on Eid

By Bureau report
April 16, 2024
In this image, people enjoy the view at a tourist destination. — APP/File
In this image, people enjoy the view at a tourist destination. — APP/File

PESHAWAR: Thousands of tourists suffered in Swat due to poor arrangements of the Swat district administration as well as the police department for their smooth travel in the picturesque valley.

As usual, thousands of tourists from all over the country thronged Swat, Upper Dir and Chitral valleys of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the second and third day of Eidul Fitr. The majority of tourists came from Punjab, Islamabad, Sindh and downtowns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to enjoy the scenic views of these valleys.

Most of the tourists, including families, preferred to visit the Swat district and particularly its upper valleys such as Bahrain, Kalam, Utror, Mataltan and Maho Dhand.However, they got stuck up on the way between Bahrain and Kalam valleys due to heavy rain that flooded the streams in different places.

Some portions of the road between Bahrain and Kalam valleys had already been washed away by the 2022 devastating floods and are yet to be repaired.The government and particularly the National Highway Authority (NHA) had earmarked a huge budget for the repair work of the Bahrain-Kalam road, which was damaged by the 2022 floods and also the bridges that were not built in time due to litigations between the former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf federal government and a construction firm owned by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader and Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Engineer Amir Muqam Khan.

However, neither the bridges were built nor the repair work was completed.The residents of Upper Swat, Kalam Hotel Association as well as the tourists had been complaining of the dilapidated road between Bahrain and Kalam but the provincial government had refused to help saying it was the domain of the federal government.

The federal government has not been able to take note of the poor condition of the road that worsened the condition of the remaining road.There were some hopes when Federal Minister Engineer Amir Muqam took personal interest last year and mobilised the NHA and other relevant authorities to start the long-awaited repair work on portions of the road that were damaged in the 2022 floods.

However, this year, according to residents of Swat and Kalam Hotel Association, the district administration and police authorities had not made any prior traffic plan for the tourists travelling to the picturesque Swat valley. Some of the tourists complained that they spent the night in their cars along with their families due to the poor condition of the road.

According to the tourists, the rainwater had caused some damage to the road and they couldn’t travel. “There was not a single representative of the government. We felt so insecure as there were neither the district police nor the traffic police for traffic control,” said a tourist, Abdul Sattar. He said they came from Faisalabad and planned to visit Kalam and Mahodhand but they got stuck up on the way due to the broken road and couldn’t reach their destinations.