ISLAMABAD - Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) on Wednesday tabled a proposal of developing New Balakot City as a tourist hub following the public-private partnership model as the previous project was not feasible due to financial constraints. 

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in a statement said that “with current financial constraints and budgetary cuts the project of new Balakot does not seems feasible, therefore, taking an innovative approach the Chairman ERRA Lt. Gen Muhammad Afzal has proposed and presented the proposal for New Balakot City as a tourist hub on principles of private public partnership.”  

It said that with a vision to develop a modern Business Residence City, which would not only attract indigenous investment into tourism sector & promote domestic/international tourism, would also host local gemstones/mining industry and was likely to take off next month. 

The statement said that the envisaged city built on principles of private public partnership would be the future gateway and tourism hub with state of art residential facility with 2275 plots for earthquake affectees, 4648 residential plots, 1637 plots for private sale, along with shopping street, earthquake 2005 museum, adventure trail, luxury sky scrapers, and golf course, schools, colleges and hospitals.

Referring to chairman ERRA Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, it said with a vision of Private Public Partnership New Bakriyal City would open vistas of economic generation and high living standards for the people of old Balakot. 

“After 2005 earthquake the worst-hit Balakot city is to be moved to new location of Bakriyal for which 11,436 kanals of plain land and 4,160 kanals of forest land has been acquired and given to the KP government.  Unfortunately due to disagreement with locals over land rate, refusal to vacate the land and inaction to get the land vacated the development work halted in 2014,” the statement said.

It added that former Chief Justice of Pakistan took suo moto notice on delayed development of Bakriyal and a judicial commission was formed which stated that a corporate setup, similar to DHA should be formed for the project.  

The statement said that SC also directed the ministry of finance to release Rs.1 billion immediately to ERRA for the project construction.  ERRA was also directed to submit a revised PC-1 however, the money had not yet been released.