Thar needs to be focused for not only its rich mines and minerals but also its mainstay of the economy
Speakers at Thar Investment and Tourism Promotion Conference said Thar has a very bright future in tourism and developing natural resources if the sector was properly promoted as per the dynamics of the desert region
By GR Junejo
Mithi, Tharparkar: The officials, lawmakers, technocrats, and the investors speaking at the Thar Investment and Tourism Promotion Conference on the sidelines of colors of Thar Festival on Sunday, the third day, observed that Thar had a very bright future in tourism and developing natural resources if the sector was properly promoted as per the dynamics of the desert region.
Sindh Minister for Tourism and Culture Syed Sardar Ali Shah, speaking as the chief guest said that the events like ‘Colors of Thar Festival’ and the conference under the theme ‘Thar will change Pakistan’ would further foster the culture and would surely prove a milestone to attract the attention of the peoples of the world to visit Thar.
Shah said that organizing the cultural shows and events were best ‘weapons’ to fight with the menaces and ills of the society creeping in the minds of some unscrupulous elements. “Festivals and cultural events are the best solution to bring the people of different segments of society without any discrimination on the same platform and to boost the budding talented people.”
Sardar Shah maintained that without giving the due space and respect to singers, musicians, artists and writers, no region would get developed. “Such events would greatly bring changes in the attitudes, minds and thoughts towards the actual builders and creators of the plural society.”
“Thar might have faced the malnutrition due to droughts but it had always a beautiful and peaceful atmosphere over the centuries,” he said.
He said that a number of projects were being carried out to make Thar as one of the best peaceful tourist spot. He told that he had also inaugurated a grand Marvi resort in Mithi town having the required facilities for those touring the Mithi and other towns and spots of the desert.
Asif Ikram, the provincial secretary of investment department said that it was very unfortunate that no proper investment was being done by various departments to give the importance to the local products. “Thar at the moment needed to be focused for not only its rich mines and minerals but also its mainstay of the economy.”
“The comprehensive plans and policies are direly needed under which livestock, the local agricultural products such as the traditional fruits and vegetables could be preserved and marketed in a proper way” he said.
Ikram said that when he was DC Tharparkar, he along with the other experts and activists from Thar had drafted and recommended a number of proposals including Thar Mitigation Policy to combat the terrible impacts of the incurring droughts.
He said that tourism could never be promoted until the other resources of Thar were not put in proper place. He said that there was the dire need to protect all historical and heritage sites of the desert district with the active participation and the supervision of the officials as well as the lawmakers from the desert district.
The CEO of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, Syed Abul Fazil Rizvi said that their mining firm and Thar Foundation had achieved the milestones not only in the development sectors but also in the coal extraction and the subsequent power generation. “We have established the biggest nursery of the province where we have produced over 2 million samplings which has also become a tourism point,” he added and assured the participants of their full support in their effort to promote tourism in Thar.
The provincial secretary for mines and minerals Syed Zulfikar Ali Shah said that Sindh government had launched a number of the plans to further protect the hills of Karoonjhar from any damage, and added that they had also documented certain laws which would be presented in Sindh Assembly for the proper legislation for the minerals of Thar including the precious granite of Karoonjhar hills.
Shah dispelled the impression that Sindh government lease out the permits to extract the stones from the protected sites of Karoonjhar. He said that with the construction of as many as 34 small dams in the Parkar region to store rainwater had brought agricultural revolution in the region, which he said would not only boost up the agriculture but also would promote tourism.
Dr. Allah Nawaz Samoo , the CEO of Thardeep Rural Development Program said that there was the need to promote ecotourism in the coming years by taking advantage of recent researches conducted by the experts of the various fields. “There was the need also to boost the agriculture and other sectors by conducting the studies.”
PPP MPA Qasim Siraj Soomro said that government of Sindh had launched a number of the comprehensive plans to overhaul the infrastructure of the desert district. “We all are here to protect the heritage sites and beautiful Karoonjhar hills.”
He said that PPP government had always initiated the mega projects for Tharparkar district.
MNA Dr. Mahesh Kumar Malani, MNA Pir Ameer Ali shah Jilani, DC Tharparkar Mohammad Nawaz Soho, Brigadier Salam Nazar, Veerji Kolhi, Dr. Ashok Bakhtani, and others also spoke on the occasion.
Major General Kashif Azad attended the conference as guest of honor.