PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has banned new constructions in the surroundings of Mahodand to preserve natural beauty of the picturesque tourist spot in Swat district and directed the tourism department to frame by-laws in this regard.
The decision was taken in a meeting here on Friday which was chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, said an official statement. The meeting was told that local people had started construction in the surroundings of Mahodand near Kalam valley which was threatening beauty of the lake.
Information minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai told Dawn that the lake was situated in an area which was the joint property (shamilat) of local people. He said that the local people had started distribution of the land around the natural lake for construction of houses.
CM orders action against production, use of plastic bags
The minister said that unplanned construction of residential quarters in the area would cause environmental pollution and disturb biodiversity. He said that the district administration was directed to place immediate ban on construction activities and the tourism department would formulate by-laws to ensure conservation of the lake.
Mahodand Lake is located in Upper Usho Valley at about 40km from Kalam. The lake is accessible by a four-wheel drive vehicle and is often utilised for fishing and boating. The lake has become a major tourist spot in Swat valley and attracts a large number of domestic tourists in summer.
The statement said that the chief minister also ordered crackdown on manufacturing and use of plastic bags throughout the province. He expressed his displeasure over the ongoing use of plastic bags in various parts of the province, adding that relevant laws should be brought into use at once in order to curb the menace which had cost not only in terms of environmental pollution but also by threatening human lives and biodiversity.
He directed the administration to take stern measures against factories who manufactured plastic without using biodegradable materials in addition to imposing heavy fines on people involved in bringing bulk of plastic bags from other provinces.
He asked the Information and Public Relations Department to start an awareness campaign highlighting the relevant laws and penalties against the use of plastic bags. He said that the department should undertake measures in cooperation with the concerned district administrations for promoting use of biodegradable shopping bags. He said that the district administration should curtail the production of plastic bags at source.
The chief minister stated that the use of plastic bags was having a negative impact on the tourism industry, affecting the natural beauty of tourist spots.
Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2019