Work on the Cultural Heritage Trail project, the first of its kind in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, is in its final stages and authorities say it would increase the value of property and businesses manifold in the area. The Heritage Trail, which starts from Ghanta Ghar, crosses the Bazaar-e-Kalan and finishes at Gor Gatri archaeological complex – presenting a beautiful trail of preserved cultural heritage along a 450-meter stretch.
Ghanta Ghar, originally known as the Cunningham Clock Tower, was named after British governor Sir George Cunningham, and was constructed in 1900 in commemoration of the diamond jubilee of the Queen Empress. The end point of the trail – the Gor Gatri complex – is home to an artisan village, a museum, an excavation site dating back 2,300 years, a Hindu temple from the 17th century, and a fire brigade with two vintage fire engines from the British rule in 1912.
It is also said that Gor Gatri was once used by Italian mercenary General Paolo Avaitabile as his abode during the Sikh rule in Peshawar. Nawazud Din, a research officer at the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, told Arab News that once the PKR 315 million ($2.72 million) project is completed, the heritage trail will be opened only to pedestrians and vehicular traffic would be diverted to other routes.
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“The beautification project is the first of its kind in KP’s history,” he said.
“Four different contractors are working on a sub-project each, namely pavement of roads, footpaths and beautification, laying underground lines for water and gas, electricity work and construction on about 70 buildings along the heritage trail.”
The buildings along the trail are reconstructed in the style of old Peshawar city’s architecture dating back three to four centuries. He said the project started in December and was expected to be completed by April. However, it got delayed and is now likely to be completed in May.
“There are 16 more patches or trails that would be developed on this pattern in different parts of Peshawar once this pilot project is completed,” he added.
However, traders and businessmen around the trail complain of loss incurred because of the construction work, for which the government has vowed to compensate. KP government spokesman Shaukat Yousafzai, also a lawmaker of the KP Assembly, told Arab News that the government would provide each shopkeeper of Bazaar-e-Kalan near the trail a sum of PKR 30,000 for four months since their businesses have been adversely affected during work on the project. Real estate dealers note a hike in property prices near the trail.
“The rates of property are increasing and according to our estimates, the rate may double with the completion of the project. The rents of shops are also increasing,” said real estate dealer Naushad Khan.
He, however, added that the residents would have to park their cars outside the trail premises as it will be used only by pedestrians.
“This would also boom the business of parking lots because people would need them,” he added.
via Arab News