Eco-friendly cabins in Galiyat to help boost tourism, local economyBreaking

April 29, 2024

Eco-friendly cabins introduced by the forest department in the Galiyat area of the Abbotabad district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will play a vital role in promoting tourism and generating income for locals. “Setting up such cabins in other tourist spots of the country will not only help create job opportunities, but people will also learn to conserve forests being a sustainable source of livelihood and ecology,” points out Muhammad Yousaf, Chief Conservator Forests, Northern region. Talking to WealthPK, he said most of the people living in Galiyat were poor, less educated, and usually worked as car/taxi drivers or waiters at local hotels or teahouses. “In the past, some people encroached upon the forest department land by establishing small shops. Keeping in view the poor state of the people, rather than involving them in a long legal fight, the forest department, through an understanding from the related court of law, decided to provide them with small places to run their businesses.”
“This facility is provided only for the local communities.

The forest department decided to provide the locals with a 10-square-foot place with a special eco-friendly design to build a cabin. It is mandatory to use the local material only to provide a natural look to the design. Each cabin place will be allotted against a refundable security amount of Rs50,000; and also an annual rent of Rs50,000 with a 10% annual increase. Each cabin place will be allotted for a period of five years. If the business holders at this place show good conduct, they may get an extension in the allotment period for five years more and so on,” explained Yousaf. He said that local people were very happy with this initiative. “Initially, 51 places were decided to be used for this purpose. In March, a few people were given the allotted places to start their businesses. Hopefully, the project will prove a success,” he added.

Discussing the importance of eco-friendly cabins in KP for people to earn a sustainable livelihood, Chairman Galiyat Tahaffuz Movement Sardar Sabir told WealthPK that the project should be followed as a model, especially in the tourist hotspots like Naran, Kaghan and Malakand. “This initiative will empower the local communities. The arrival of tourists will also add to their usual income sources.” He suggested that awareness workshops should also be conducted to make the locals familiar with the hospitality and good conduct. “It will help keep the environment clean and bring more visitors to their areas.” Sabir also emphasised that a special number of cabin places should also be reserved for women to encourage them to play an active role in contributing to their families’ income generation.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan