Shimla, Dec. 28 – Presides over the first meeting of Pong Area Development Board While presiding over the first meeting of Pong Area Development Board here today, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that permission should be sought from BBMB to carry out sports activities such as para sailing, para gliding, water scooter, kayaking, speed boat, cruise boat, water zorbing balls, house boat, shikara, floating jetty and floating restaurant. He said that possibilities should also be explored for setting up of an Institute of Excellence in water sport in collaboration with the Indian Navy/ Coast Guard so that maximum tourists are attracted towards Pong Dam reservoir.
Jai Ram Thakur said that the main objective of the Board was to ensure integrated and planned development of Pong area and prepare policies and plans to promote tourism and culture in the Pong area and also help in generating employment opportunities. He said that Pong Dam would also be developed under the ‘Nai Raahein Nai Manjilien’. He said that there should be clarity in the concept only then the desired target could be achieved. He said that Rs. 7.96 crore was being spent under this scheme to develop it as a major tourist attraction. The Chief Minister said that effective steps must be taken to undertake permissible activities in the area. He said that effective steps must also be taken to attract private funding for the execution of tourism projects.
He said that steps would be taken to strengthen the Pong Area Development Board. He said that better road connectivity would be provided alongside the Pong Dam area so that tourists could be wooed to visit this destination. While expressing his displeasure over the poor implementation of ADB funded Tranche-I project worth Rs. 8.33 crore, Jai Ram Thakur said that inquiry would be constituted in this regard and report may be submitted within a month so that truth into it could be brought fore.
The Chief Minister said that activities of the Regional Water Sports Centre at Maharana Pratap Sagar, Pong Dam must be diversified to attract water sports lovers to this area. He said that lakhs of migratory birds visit this sanctuary area every year thus more watch towers should be erected to facilitate the visitors to have a glimpse of these birds. He said that to give impetus to bird watching some key points vicinity at Fatehpur Sub Division should be developed from a tourism point of view.
Jai Ram Thakur said Rancer Giri Island in the Pong Dam could also be developed as thousands of tourists visit this Island by boat every year. He said that floating jetties should also be provided at various strategic places so that people could enjoy boating. MLA and Member of the Board Hoshiyar Singh said that the Pong Dam area has immense tourism potential. He said that Haripur Guler’s painting was world-famous and need to be revived. He said that several temples around Haripur need to be renovated to attract tourists. The focus must be laid on the development of those areas from a tourism point of view which were away from the Pong Dam area.
Chief Secretary Anil Khachi gave various points of view for the development of Pong Dam area. Secretary Tourism Devesh Kumar welcomed the Chief Minister and other members of the Board on the occasion.