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Govt to Make New Balakot City a Tourist Hub

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting on the development of New Balakot City as a tourist hub.

The Prime Minister said,” the government wants to develop new tourist resorts in hilly areas for the promotion of tourism in the country.”

“For this purpose, reputed private investors in the field of tourism and hospitality are being attracted to Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model,” he added.

The Prime Minister directed the federal and provincial authorities concerned to take all necessary measures to fully facilitate private investors in this regard.

He further directed the KP government to take over the entire project from ERRA and accomplish it as a tourist resort. The Prime Minister further directed to exclude irrigated land from the project in order to ensure food security in the region.

Earlier, the Prime Minister was briefed that feasibility study on Rs. 19.5 billion project for the development of New Balakot City as a tourist hub on Design-Build-Finance-Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) model has been completed by NESPAK and KPMG. 63% of residential plots out of the total 6,753 under the proposed project are reserved for allotment to the locals affected, whereas the remaining 2,480 residential and 575 commercial plots besides 800 apartments would be auctioned to generate finances for the execution of the project.

The Prime Minister was informed that primarily it was the responsibility of the provincial government of KP instead of the federal government to develop New Balakot City. KP government has already acquired land for the purpose. To be executed under Public-Private Partnership (PPP), the tourist resort will include a youth hostel, theme park, camping ground, and a 3-star hotel.

The project, when completed, will not only ease pressure on existing overloaded tourist destinations but would also earn more than Rs. 7 billion as a result of expected revenue sharing with the government.

The meeting was attended by Railways Minister, Azam Khan Swati, Chief Minister KP, Mahmood Khan, MNA Saleh Swati, KP Population Minister, Syed Ahmed Hussain Shah, Chairman NDMA, Lt Gen Akhtar Nawaz Satti, and senior officers concerned.

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Sophia Siddiqui