Tribune News Service
Pathankot, June 6
Hospitality honchos are eyeing the twin islands of Kalara and Naloh Tikka Pilangi in the Ranjit Sagar dam lake following Punjab Government’s decision to develop a world-class water sports and tourism hub.
In 2014, then Dy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal flew in hoteliers from Delhi, Mumbai and Pune in a special flight to enable them to have a feel of things. However, the project hit a roadblock when the Union Government dithered on giving it the mandatory forest clearance. The forest clearance has now been granted following which the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) has floated a global tender. The venture will be operated on a public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
The project has been rechristened as the ‘International Standard Tourism Theme Destination in Punjab.’ The last date for submitting proposals is June 30.
Sources say real-estate prices in and around the lake in the Dhar block are set to see a manifold increase. Politicians and bureaucrats, too, are keeping themselves abreast of the developments.
“Convention centers, eco villas and eco resorts will be established. Nature and water sports activities will also be held in the lake,” said Sanjeev Tiwari, Divisional Forest Officer. Officials are pegging the cost of the venture at anything between Rs 300 and Rs 400 crore.
“A lot of money is going to be invested. Land prices have already increased ever since the tender was published. A majority of the hoteliers had closed shop in the past two years following the Covid-induced inertia. Now they see a glimmer of hope. Moreover, the construction of new highways means tourists now cross over to the neighbouring states of HP and J&K without making a stopover in the area as they used to do earlier. Now, as the project comes up, the same hoteliers see some hope,” said a prominent businessman.