Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) has established ‘Allergological Asthama Resort’ at Khewra Salt Mines on the pattern of globally renowned ‘Asthma Resorts’ of Wieliczka Salt Mines, Poland and Ukrainian Salt Mines where Asthma patients are being treated through natural salt therapy.
The Khewra Salt Mines is the second-largest mine in the world which reserves 220 million tonnes of rock salt and presently produces 3,70,000 tonnes of salt per anum. The salt produced from the mine is supplied to various industries and for human, and animal consumption.
Khewra Salt Mines is situated in Tehsil Pind Dadan Khan, District Jhelum at an approximate distance of 200 km from Islamabad and 245 km from Lahore. The mine has an easy approach via Lahore – Islamabad Motorway through Lillah or Kalarkahar Interchange and the journey time by car from Islamabad is about two hours while from Lahore it is about three hours.
Talking to APP, the official guide of the mines, Abid said that hundreds of tourists comprising students, general public and foreigners were visiting the mine every week and enjoy the interior of the mines which has been illuminated with fancy lights to magnify the intrinsic beauty of the salt rocks and salient features of the mine.
Hollow walls of salt bricks when illuminated give a beautiful look and by using different shades of rock salt bricks, a beautiful mosque and Pakistan monument were constructed. There are certain chambers filled with saturated brine water which are high in density and one can’t be downed in it when these ponds are illuminated with fancy lights to give a splendid view, said Abid while explaining the features of the mine.
There is an area of transparent salt of light of pink colour known as ‘Sheesh Mahal’ in which the reflection of the light shows marvellous colours of rock salt while another area has been named as ‘Crystal Palace’ that looks as the diamond shines on the walls.
A renowned mining engineer from Britain laid out the main tunnel at ground level in 1872 by using the scientific mining system “room and pillar method” in which 50 per cent of the salt is excavated while 50 per cent is left as a pillar.
Meanwhile, many philanthropist organizations have substantially contributed to the establishment of Asthama Resort at Khewra Salt Mines as the interior of the salt mines provides an environment, which helps to cure Allergic Asthma.
In an exclusive talk with the news agency, the Project Manager of Khewra Salt Mines, Farrukh Taimur said that Asthma patients had to spend about 110 hours inside the mine during treatment. “The patients suffering from Asthma have to spend 6 to 8 hours in the mines in a day”, he added.
The salt had antiphobic, antimicrobic and anti-bacterial properties. “In simple words, nanoparticles of sodium absorb germs and purify the air. This purified air then enters into the lungs of the patient and creates immunity, he added.
The medical official Zawar Sajjad said approximately 50 patients per annum were being treated at the Asthama Resort. The 80 per cent of Asthma patients cured and treated at the resort mostly young and self-motivated patients used to show signs of improvement in a short period, he added.
Farrukh Taimur said that the Khewra Salt Mine is centuries old and getting affected by the climate disaster is a natural phenomenon but the mine’s management is looking for another safe portion for shifting the resort to the new location.
The other attractions of the mine included a narrow-gauge electric railway that carries tourists inside the mines and decoration pieces like lamps, vases and ashtrays which are manufactured with salt bricks at the local plants.
Visitors at the mine are of the view that Pakistan is blessed with natural beauty and resources and urged the government to further promote such attractive spots to enhance national and international tourism in the country.