Dream of developed Gorakh Hill Station remains just that | Pakistan Today

Dream of developed Gorakh Hill Station remains just that

While the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) slain chairperson Benazir Bhutto had dreamed of a well-developed Gorakh Hill Station to provide tourists with Muree-like facilities, the hilly area of Sindh could not become a tourist attraction due to politics and apathy of the authorities concerned, it has been learnt.
The Gorakh Hill Development Authority (GHDA) director general was appointed on pressure from an MNA from the ruling party that resulted in emergence of politics in the authority’s functions. However, the authority’s official machinery was being used by the parliamentarian belonging to the ruling PPP, sources told Pakistan Today.
The sources said a 25-kilometre road from Wahi Pandhi toward the hill station had been badly damaged following rains and floods, besides deterioration of several small bridges. Interestingly, the landslides had deposited heavy stones at Khawal Lak, blocking the way to the hill station.
It is important to mention here that Gorakh project is an under-development hill station project of Sindh province. It is situated at an elevation of 5,688 ft (1,734 m) in the Kirthar Mountain Range stretching into Sindh, 93 km northwest of Dadu city. Gorakh Hill Station is situated on one of the highest plateaus of Sindh, spread over 2,500 acres of land (10 km2), and due to its surroundings, a unique adventure point for nature lovers also exists.
Gorakh Plateau had also been serving as a gateway for the villagers of Khuzdar District, situated in Balochistan province, who come over to the village named Wahi Pandi in Sindh’s for purchasing food and other utilities.
The Gorakh hills summit could only be reached with 4×4 vehicles, which were available from Dadu and Johi towns. The hilltop is at a distance of 93 km from Dadu. The last small town before the Gorakh hill is Wahi Pandi, set in the lap of the Kirthar range. The road ascends slowly at the milestone of 53 km when one enters the Yaroo Pass.
According to a survey of the Sindh government, trees could be cultivated on some 200 acres of the plateau’s land, including 40 acres in Balochistan.
Under a project approved in 1994-95, road construction, water supply, electricity, bridges and gas supply work was divided into three phases. The cost estimate was put at Rs1, 708 million and the budget was sanctioned in this regard. The plan envisaged a club, a hotel, shopping centres and a fitness centre at the hill station.
In contrary, the officials, instead of rehabilitating the damaged infrastructure at the site of the hill was spending millions to decorate their offices.
Sources disclosed that Gorakh Hill Development Authority Director General (DG) Engr Nazir Ahmed Chakrani had spent Rs.41.723 million on various works on office building, electricity, plumbing and other infrastructure without inviting tenders. And the whole process reflected that the management did not follow the Sindh Public Procurement Rules 2010.
“Interestingly, the director general allotted a vehicle, bearing the registration number GS-9488 and valuing Rs 3.499 million, to the then minister for Sindh Tourism. The same vehicle was allowed to be retained by the minister despite the change of his department.
Moreover, the director general also allotted one Suzuki Jimmy vehicle, No GS-8449 valuing Rs 1,595 million, to a member of Sindh Assembly in violation of staff car rules, revealed official documents available with the Pakistan Today.
When contacted, the GHDA DG told Pakistan Today that the rehabilitation work on the site had started. “Besides, the tuck shops establishment remain 90 percent complete, staff quarters are also near completion, huts for tourists are 80 percent complete, and water supply and electric poles are also being installed”, the DG Nazir added.

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