AKD, Carlton Hotel vie for Keenjhar Lake resort project


The Carlton Hotel management and the renowned stock market tycoon, Aqeel Karim Dhedhi, have entered the race to get hold of the Keenjhar Lake Resort development project worth around Rs 3.40 billion, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The Sindh Tourism Department in collaboration with the provincial government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Unit had offered the Keenjhar Lake Development Project on PPP basis, under which the government would foot 40 percent bills and the investor would inject 60 percent capital into the project. Well-placed sources told Pakistan Today that both the intending parties have submitted their expressions of interest with the Sindh government to acquire the project and in the next couple of months the government may decide the fate of Keenjhar Lake Development Project, which envisages massive expansion in the tourism sector.
The Sindh government would examine the bids of both the interested parties and take the decision keeping in view the exposure of the party in real estate, development of resorts, management and the financial health of the aspirants.
The sources said that Rs 400 million would be provided to the Sindh Board of Revenue to settle the land acquisition. To attract tourists and promote tourism in Sindh, Rs 3 billion would be spent on developing huts, motels, parks and a golf club among other facilities at the Keenjhar Lake.
An overriding objective of the Keenjhar Lake Development Project is to create an eco-friendly tourist destination which would provide high quality business and recreational facilities, supported by infrastructure and amenities within a secure and hearty environment that encourages extended stay at the site.
One of the most attractive tourist destinations in Pakistan, the Keenjhar Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Pakistan spread over an area of 145 sq km with an irregular shoreline of 192 km. The maximum depth is around 8 metres at the lake, which is an important source of drinking water for Karachi.
The location of the lake is also ideal as the National Highway (N-5) passes nearby while the Jhimpir Railway Station, the first station after Karachi, is also located within close proximity. A large variety of migratory waterfowl stay during winters at the lake that also is rich in flora of submerged, floating and emergent aquatic plants. However, lack of infrastructure and over-exploitation of resources at the Keenjhar Lake are leading to environmental degradation and deterioration of natural habitat around the lake. The Sindh government also intends to develop infrastructure and facilities to further facilitate travelling to the lake.
Plans are underway to develop the Thatta city and the district area to meet the gap in infrastructure, utilities and services that has eluded many small urban cities and towns in interior Sindh.
This is not only expected to improve the quality of lives of people there, but also enable the city to support tourism activities. Furthermore, the development would add to the value of projects at the Keenjhar Lake.
The sources said that plans are afoot to develop and explore the tourism potential of Gorakh Hills in the Dadu district. “The access road to Gorakh Hills was swept away by torrential rains and would be rebuilt. Entertainment facilities would also be provided atop the hills to attract tourists to the province,” they added.