ABBOTTABAD   -  The historic ‘Moto Tunnel’ built in 1891, which was buried in garbage dump, has now been charmingly restored to its original glory by Ministry of Climate Change.

A remarkable discovery was made while digging a pit for a plantation in Ayubia National Park in Ayubia when a 100-year-old British-era tunnel was found from a trash mound.

The historic ’Moto Tunnel’ built in 1891, which was buried in a garbage dump due to neglect, has now been restored to its original glory by the Ministry of Climate Change.

Talking to APP, Secretary Forest said, acentury ago, the 250-feet long tunnel connected the two valleys in Ayubia and Murree. The restoration will now reduce the travel distance for the pedestrians living in the mountainous region. 

The meticulous work of illuminating the tunnel has been done carefully, keeping the heritage and original beauty intact, he added. 

He said various facilities including paved track to the tunnel, information centre, guide, resting areas and coffee shop have also been set up for tourists.

The historical and archeological tourist site is located in the picturesque and biodiversity-rich Ayubia National Park - spread over 3,312 hectares in the Galliat region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and home to 256 species of birds, 33 species of mammals and 104 kinds of plants.

The Ministry of Climate Change and KP’s wildlife department jointly renovated and restored the tunnel to its original glory the ‘Moto Tunnel’ as a cultural and heritage icon due to its archaeological significance under the Global Environment Facility and UNDP’s Sustainable Forest Management project, said Suleman Khan, Inspector General Forest at the climate change ministry.

Preserving nature while promoting tourism

There is an increasing realisation in Pakistan to promote sustainable tourism and development that does “not lead to exploitation of natural resources rather their protection and preservation,” said Amin Aslam. “Protecting and preserving natural resources like lakes, mountains, beaches and rivers, which are the main sources of tourism attraction and promoting ecotourism concepts and practices at all levels, which promote sane use of natural resources, is inevitable for overall environmental and economic sustainability,” he asserted.

This has been the focus during the renovation of the British-era tunnel to preserve the historic relic while causing no damage to the environment.