Karachi: Inordinate delay in the Gorakh hill station project is depriving Sindh of huge tourism revenue, but the bureaucracy is not serious to get this vital project completed and giving Sindh a good recreational site. Every year hundreds of thousands of well-to-do families, visit Murree, Kaghan, Naran, Abbottabad, Behrain, Chitral, Hunza and other hill stations to spend summer. Similarly, a large number newly married couples visit these hill stations on their honeymoons. Several tourist operators of Karachi are having a booming business by sending tourists and honeymoon couples to these upcountry hill stations.
Dr Aamir, a young surgeon of Karachi, who recently returned from Kaghan spending a honeymoon-week, said there were dozens of Karachi families visiting Kaghan on recreation trips. He said if the government develops the Gorakh hill station, just 450 kilometers north of Karachi, these tourists of Karachi could enjoy their trips just at a fraction of cost spent at upcountry hill stations, besides saving a lot of their journey time.
Gorakh Hill Station is situated at an elevation of 5,688 ft (1,734 m) in the Kirthar Mountains Range’s Sindh Segment, 94 km north west of Dadu city. Gorakh Hill Station is situated on one of the highest plateaus of Sindh, spread over 2,500 acres (10 km2), and due its surroundings, a unique adventure point for nature lovers.
Gorakh Plateau also serves as gateway for the villagers of Khuzdar District, Balochistan, who come over to the village, Wahi Pandi, in Sindh’s segment of Kirthar, about a third way downhill from Gorakh Hill Station for purchasing food and other Utilities.
The Gorakh Hills summit is 93 km from Dadu. The last small town before the Gorakh Hill is Wahi Pandi, settled in the lap of the Kirthar range. The road thereafter is towered slowly at the milestone of 53 km when one enters the Yaroo Pass (Yaroo Sain Jo Luck).
After crossing this pass 2,500 ft (760 m) above sea level, the journey continues in the mountains and at the milestone 76 km one reaches the base camp of another highest pass of the Kirthar range. It is known as Khanwal Pass (KP) on the elevation of 3,000 ft (910 m) and at the top of the KP the elevation is 5,000 ft (1,500 m) above sea level. The distance between the KP base camp and the KP top is four kilometres. The four-kilometre journey is too zigzag. After reaching the top of KP, drive continues to the Gorakh Hill top, which is the 13 km ahead. At the top of the hill there is a small rest-house, the only facility so far made available.
Gorakh Hills Development Authority (GHDA), an institution established to develop Sindh’s only hill station claims that this hill station would soon be further developed. It claims that development work at the site, stopped in past, has been restored and within six months Gorakh Hill station would be made easily accessible for everyone.
However, this vital project has been in limbo for last two decades and there are not visible signs of its early completion despite the tall claims of officials, because the project is not in the priority list of the provincial government. If the government really takes efforts for revival of this important project it could earn a huge tourist revenue besides improving soft image of the province.
Dr Aamir suggests that the government should establish a medical college and an engineering college at Gorakh or at least establish campuses of Sindh University, Shaheed Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical University, Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering and Technology, and Shah Abdul Latif University, besides public schools and good boarding schools there so that to make it a city of educational institutes of Sindh on the pattern of Abbottabad.