Murree is Pakistan’s favourite and most visited resort town. Be it summer, when it serves as an escape from the unforgiving heat of the plains and coastal areas, or winter, when snowfall is a major attraction, every Pakistani wants to visit Murree.
But in peak seasons, the high volume of traffic often leads to several inconveniencies due to hours-long gridlocks. But that’s about to change. Prime Minister (PM) Mr Nawaz Sharif has directed the Punjab government to analyse the idea of construction of an alternative expressway from Islamabad to Murree and Patriata via Kotli Sattian. So, if the proposed plan is realised, many of the problems of tourists and the local population related to traffic jams in Murree will be resolved.
According to a news source, the PM – in a meeting held on September 1 – instructed the officials concerned to prepare a work plan and a proposal to build the expressway in question.
Reportedly, the meeting was not only limited to discussions on an alternative expressway, as some other large-scale developments in Murree were also discussed.
So, what else is in the bag? The PM issued directives to launch a chair lift service from Kotli Sattian to Patriata, while also approving a proposal to launch a similar service between Bastal Morr and Pindi Point. The PM stressed that the new chair lift projects should not disturb the privacy of houses along their routes, per the news source.
The chair lift service has always been a favourite of the tourists travelling to the hill station and it is also used as a transport service because it allows visitors to get to tourist points that may not be easily reachable otherwise.
The proposed chair lift services are likely to be highly appreciated by tourists and residents alike.
The development projects do not end here, as essential facilities are also being upgraded in Murree. The PM has approved a water scheme worth Rs 7 billion for the hill station. Under the scheme, water will be supplied to Murree from Jhelum River through a 30-km pipeline which will be laid out within 18 months after the contract is awarded.
Reportedly, medical facilities were also a point of concern for the PM in the meeting, as he approved a plan for the construction of a new hospital near the general bus stand in Murree. The decision for a new hospital was taken during a meeting in July, and in the recent meeting the PM emphasised that the new hospital would be equipped with modern facilities in order to ensure the highest standards of medical care.
Samli Sanatorium will be converted into a major medical centre and a medical college will be built on its premises, according to the directions given by the PM.
The news source reported further that the meeting discussed the rainwater harvesting system installed in Murree and also emphasised its extension with the help of local residents. Last but not least, the development and upgrade of the Brazilian embassy building – to make it a tourist attraction – was also discussed in the meeting.
Now that the problems of hordes of traffic, limited chair lift services and lack of medical and basic facilities are being looked into and hopefully solved effectively, Pakistan’s favourite hill station is likely to become even more attractive for tourists and more convenient for the residents.
“If urban development continues in Murree and the government continues to allow urban construction, property prices in the resort town can increase by 100% in a year. However, if urban development is hindered by the government, such progress may not be seen,” Mr Hassan Cheenah, the developer of Murree Modern Villages, told Zameen.com. He also said that when he began his project in Murree in 2012, per-kanal land price was Rs 400,000, however, in 2015, the price spiked to Rs 2,000,000 per kanal.
I believe the new developments will not go unappreciated, and will help in boosting tourism numbers and increasing the standard of living. Our readers should also bear in mind that with these significant additions to Murree’s infrastructure, it is highly likely that the value of real estate in this resort town – which is very popular given the attractive prices and the comfort of having a summer home – will rise noticeably.