Lack of facilities endangers tourists' lives at Keenjhar Lake.

Byline: Ghulam Hussain Khawaja

THATTA -- Lack of adequate first-aid facilities and life-saving gear for picnickers who flock to Keenjhar Lake in large numbers every day leads to tragedies every now and then. Numerous deaths of victims of drowning have also been reported, who could have been saved had they received timely medical help.

The tragedies are mainly a result of criminal negligence of the departments concerned and local boat and rest-house operators who fail to take any protective measures to ensure security of picnickers whose number reaches thousands on weekends and Eid days.

The lake, which is located some 130 kilometres to the north-east of Karachi and is spread over 13,468 hectares, is frequented by more than 12,000 picnickers every weekend mostly from Karachi and the rest of the province.

The lake falls under the administrative domain of four departments irrigation, Sindh Tourism Development Corporation (STDC), fisheries and police but sadly none of the departments perform their actual duties and their staff is only seen busy fleecing picnickers on various pretexts.

Several groups of picnickers interviewed by Dawn complained about unhygienic conditions, lack of healthcare facility, well-equipped ambulances, public lavatories, skilled divers and life jackets to save precious lives.

They said that weeds littered the beach and layers of algae had made the stones slippery, which often caused unwary picnickers to slip into deep waters and drown. The situation was further exacerbated by lack of effective first-aid facilities and lifeguards, they said.

They said that STDC staff posted at the lake and policemen who were seen busy fleecing people in connivance with influential persons of the area were also reasons behind tragedies and degradation of the largest tourist resort of the province.

In a tragic accident, two sisters and their aunt who belonged to a poor family drowned in the lake after they slipped on algae-covered stones leading up to the historic tomb of Noori-Jam Tamachi (1367 CE to 1379 CE).

According to eyewitnesses, the women tried to jump from the boat as soon as it touched the orbital structure of the tomb located in the middle of the lake. They walked up the slippery stones, lost balance and fell back into the water.

The eyewitnesses believed if the tomb had metal railings on both sides of the steps or inflated rubber tyre tubes tied around the structure the ill-fated women could have been saved.

They said the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT