PESHAWAR: The establishment of the first ever permanent dry port of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at Arandu in Chitral was discussed at a consultative meeting held at the Planning and Development Division in Peshawar, according to minutes of the meeting available with ChitralToday.
It was decided that the federal government would be approached for the construction of the dry port in Arandu in the southwest of Chitral along the Afghan border, about 29 kilometres away from the proposed route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Arandu, the meeting was told, is the shortest point to link China with Afghanistan via Chitral. The living standard of the people of Arandu is below average. Furthermore, 1.5 square-foot confiscated wood is lying in Arandu. It was stated that the wood should be disposed of and 60pc of the proceed would be utilized on the development of the infrastructure of Arandu, including roads, schools, tourism and healthcare facilities.
But the divisional forest officer (DFO) told the meeting that 40pc of the wood was government share, 30pc reserved for the local community while 27pc would be kept for the welfare of the people of Arandu. The remaining three percent, he added, would be used for giving scholarships to outstanding students of Chitral.
The meeting decided that the illicit timber confiscated in Arandu should be auctioned as per the forest department’s decision.
The meeting was attended by officials from the Planning Division and other departments along with civil society representatives and the president of the Chitral Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Mr Sartaj Ahmed Khan.
Development of economic zone in Chitral
The meeting was informed that there was a need for expediting the process to set up the economic zone in Chitral under CPEC. There was also a need to acquire an additional 10 acres for the project. The meeting decided to take up the matter with the department concerned.
Beautification of Chitral and Drosh towns
The meeting was informed by the CCCI president that the two towns were facing an acute issue of drainage. The public health engineering department Chitral told the meeting that PC-II regarding town planning of Chitral at a cost of Rs2 million had already been prepared and submitted to the planning and development department.
Linkage of Chitral’s business sector with China and Tajikistan
The CCCI president told the meeting that sectoral training and support to local exiting businesses was required. Similarly, study tours and inter-city visits to industrial zones such as Sialkot, Gujranwala and Faisalabad etc., may be arranged. He said access to easy financing in hydel, mines, mineral, horticulture and tourism was required to attract investors.
Protection of forest, climate/forest and water of Chitral
The meeting was informed that the provision of electricity from Golen Gol and Lawi projects to the consumers in Chitral on actual rates would minimize the high dependency on forest resources. The actual demand of electricity in Chitral is 30 megawatts.
There is also a need for the establishment of Chitral Tourism Authority which would be responsible for development and regularization of the tourism sector.
The district forest officer (wildlife) informed the meeting that three markhor trophy hunting permits were issued every year which earned Rs30 million per annum out of which 20pc went to the government while the remaining 80pc was spent on local development.
The meeting decided that the wildlife department will disclose the names of the members of the committee for trophy hunting if already notified.