GALIYAT: Rest houses situated in the scenic valley of Galiyat could have given a boost to the already burgeoning tourism in the area, but unfulfilled promises have left the structures to crumble to nonexistence under harsh weather conditions.
The chairperson of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Imran Khan, had promised to commercialise these rest houses, most of which are owned by different government departments, and opened for the common people.
Imran had said that money generated from the rest houses would help in developing the area and for the welfare of locals.
But the claims have not yet been turned into action.
The plan was to hand over rest houses of government department to Galiyat Development Authority (GDA) that would renovate them and subsequently open the places for tourists, whom the area is usually crowded with given its weather and location amid mountains.
So far 19 of these rest houses have been handed over to GDA, but out of the count nine are not in a useable condition. The remaining 10, however, have been commercialised and are being used by the common people.
The rest houses that are not in a useable condition include, Forest Rest House in Barian, Raees Khana in Nathiagali, GDA Rest House in Khanaspur, TCKP Rest House in Thandiani, Communication and Works Rest House in Kalapani area of Thandiani, Changa Gali Rest House, Pines Rest House in Nathiagali, Fan House in Nathiagali and Forest Rest House Thandiani.
While speaking on why the nine rest houses have not been renovated yet, GDA Director General Kaneez Sughra told Geo News that they were facing difficulties in terms of funds for renovation.
However, she said, they have decided to give out the rest houses on contract so that the contractors could take up the responsibility of renovating them.
The 19 rest houses in question are not the only ones in the area, there are others too, belonging to the government department. But they are not ready to hand over their rest houses to GDA. The rest houses not being handed over to GDA include those of the police, communication and works department and the provincial assembly speaker.
Work on the rest houses has not been started despite clear orders from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.
According to sources in the government, authorities concerned were not serious about the matter, which is why renovation and commercialisation had not started yet.
On the other hand, the PTI chief himself does not seem to have taken concrete measures for commercialisation. Locals said Imran would stay at the rest house given to the chief minister of KP by the government whenever he visited Nathiagali, but has not got it opened for tourists.
Efforts have been made to rehabilitate these rest houses but all were in vain.
The World Bank provided sofas, carpets, beds and mattresses to furnish them, but all has been dumped in Raees Khana.
Besides, millions of rupees were spent to turn a hotel into a site for multiple eateries — for which the name Food Street was decided — but that too has not been opened yet.
Locals and sources in the GDA have said that work on the eateries and rest houses has been hanging in mid air due to corruption.
KARACHI: The certificate awarding ceremony of students who partook in the voluntary summer program was …