SAR-I-PUL (Pajhwok): Once known as the most visited place in summers, Paijeh Lake in Balkhab district of northern Sar-i-Pul province lost its tourists to insecurity this year.
The lake is said to have a length of 850 meters and a width of 350 meters. Having different types and colors of fishes, the lake’s location amongst tall mountains gives it more beauty.
Mohammad Akbar, a resident of Tarkhoj village of Balkhab district, who was visiting the lake, told Pajhwok Afghan News that hundreds of people from different provinces and some from abroad would throng the Paijeh Lake between May and August in the past.
But currently only a small number of people from Sar-i-Pul City, Balkh and Samangan provinces visited the site due to insecurity and the closure of Balkhab-Sar-i-Pul highway.
Local residents say the Balkhab-Sar-i-Pul highway has been blocked in Deh Murda area for over the past four months due to insecurity.
They say the distance between Balkhab and Sar-i-Pul City is 130 kilometers, but they have to travel in small cars on the Samangan-Mazar-i-Sharfi highway passing through Balkh and Jawzjan provinces for 300km to reach Sar-i-Pul City.
Javid, another visitor of the lake from Mazar-I-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, said the absence of restaurants and bazaar and insecurity had discouraged people to visit the lake.
He said there were fish cooking spots and restaurants around the lake in the past, but now they had been closed as no tourists visited the lake.
Mohammad Hussain Azizi, head of the Development Council of Pai Ghola village of Balkhab district, who is responsible for protection of the lake, said the number of visitors to the recreational area had sharply decreased due to insecurity and closure of the road in Deh Murda area.
Even foreign tourists would visit the lake in the past, but now only a small number of local visitors came here for recreation, he said, adding no one showed interest in opening a restaurant in the area due to insecurity, a problem with no solution predictable in the near future.
Azizi asked the government to ensure security on roads so that people could visit the lake and contribute to the government’s revenue.
Sar-i-Pul police chief Abdul Qayum Baqizoy said the Balkhab-Sar-I-Pul road would be soon reopened in cooperation with local residents.