DERA GHAZI KHAN-After a long delay of eight years, Fort Munro wrapped in snow blanket with light showers, breaking the inordinately long dry spell in the DG Khan region.
The unexpected heavy snowfall began Friday night and continued on Saturday with regular intervals, plunging the mercury in Fort Munro and adjacent areas, the famous hill station of Southern Punjab, below freezing point.
Fort Munro, known as Murree of South Punjab, is located on Quetta Road toward Balochistan, at a height of 6,470 feet above sea level, 85 km away from Dera Ghazi Khan City and 185 km from Multan.
The people rejoined to see light rain showers and scattered snowfall that broke the long stretch of dry weather in DG Khan City and adjacent tribal areas. As a result, severe cold gripped district DG Khan and the entire hilly areas.
On Saturday, tourists from across the district thronged the hill station but were unhappy over lack of facilities like drinking water, power (electricity), hotels and edible items even tea stalls.
Last year, the government claimed to develop “Fort Munro pattern on Murree” but could not be materialized the plan, due to “hypocritical” role of the tribal elders and discriminatory attitude of the Punjab government toward backwardness of the South Punjab.
The apathy on the part of the Punjab government could gauged from the fact that it has failed even to make the Fort Munro Development Authority (FDMA) operational. Though the provincial assembly has passed two acts and a sum of Rs1.4 billion was allocated in ADP 2016-17 for the purpose but nothing could be done practically to execute the plan.
On July 14, 2015, former DG Khan Division Commissioner and the then FMDA DG Dr Saqib Aziz had claimed that Fort Munro would be equipped with world class facilities to attract tourists through FMDA. He described the FMDA as catalyst for development of the region and improvement living standard of locals. Mr Aziz had also claimed that the Parks and Horticulture Authority had finalised design regarding the installation of a chairlift and cable car facility at Fort Munro and a notification had been issued on this account.
But all these tall claims of administration have turned out to be a pipe dream.
An exquisite view of lake Damis in Fort Munro.–Staff photo