Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu reviewed the tourism and other flagship projects being executed in District Kangra in a meeting with the officers of the district administration at Dharamshala today. He also reviewed the steps being taken to develop Kangra as the Tourism Capital of the State and stressed on the revival of traditional tourist destinations..
The Chief Minister said that the state government was promoting water tourism, adventure tourism, religious and health tourism in Kangra district and would spend about Rs. 3000 crore to develop the infrastructure. He said that air connectivity is essential to develop the Kangra District as the tourism capital and to achieve the same, the expansion of Kangra airport and construction of heliports in Rakkar and Palampur were underway. He also gave adequate directions to identify and develop the trekking trails in order to promote adventure tourism.
The Chief Minister said that the runway length of Kangra airport was planned to be extended to 1900 meter in the first phase and in the second phase the runway length is planned to be extended to a total length of 3010 metres facilitating the operation of A-320 type of aircraft. He said that the total cost of acquisition for the first Phase was Rs. 572.07 crore. He said that the sites for development of heliports in Rakkar and Palampur have also been identified to be developed with an estimated cost of Rs. 6.66 crore and Rs. 9 crore for Rakkar and Palampur heliports respectively. Furthermore, the Chief Minister directed the identification of land for a heliport in Jawalaji which will facilitate promotion of religious tourism.
Emphasising on the importance of meeting project timelines and expediting clearances, the Chief Minister gave necessary directions for getting timely forest clearances and take up the issues of urgency before the concerned authorities under FCA (Forest Conservation Act).
Besides, the Matour-Shimla and Pathankot-Mandi routes will be expanded to four lanes with a medium width of 5 meters to enhance their aesthetic appeal, he said.
Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that an International Convention Centre is proposed to be constructed at Dharamshala with an estimated cost of Rs. 130 crore to promote the conference tourism in district Kangra. He said that 2.19 hectares of land has been identified for this project. The Chief Minister said that 5.75 hectares of land has also been identified in Nagrota for the proposed Wellness Resort and an artificial lake with fountains as well.
A golf Course is also proposed to be developed in heritage village, Garli in around 318 kanals of land.
The Chief Minister said that for the Ice and Roller-Skating Rinks, two-hectare land have been identified at Sakoh. To make the project viable, an additional 12 kanals of land has been identified, and the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is being prepared by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
He said that there is a proposal to construct a Tourist Village in Narghota and land for the same has been identified for the project. It is also proposed to acquire additional land for the same.
The efforts were afoot to set up a Destination Resort at Menjha near Palampur, for which the site has been identified and has been transferred to the Tourism Department. Apart from this, for the beautification of Palampur town, construction of a Multilevel Parking near the HRTC bus stand, a parking area near the old Sabzi Mandi, storage and rainwater harvesting facilities, a Tourist Reception Centre, upgrading of roads and streets, and the renovation of Neugal Cafe, among other landscape enhancements, with a total cost of Rs. 58 crores were underway. The Nagrota Bagwan beautification project encompasses the beautification of the Old Bus Stand, Gandhi Ground, Narda-Sharda Temple, Matour Garden, and Baroh, he said.
The Nangal Chowk area near Pong Dam, known for its relatively shallow waters, will be excluded from the wildlife sanctuary to facilitate the development of a day tourism hub with various facilities such as hot air ballooning, jetty, angling points, angler huts, paddle boats, and an amusement park with activities like paintball and rock climbing. Mathial, and Kathrah Khas which are adjacent to the Dhameta area, and can be developed to offer motorboat rides, cruises, yacht experiences, and thrilling rides, Sh. Sukhu said. He emphasized the need to identify a suitable site to create an artificial lake, spanning 1-2 kilometres along a perennial rivulet.
During the review, the Chief Minister also discussed plans for a Zoological Park in the Bankhandi area of the Dehra assembly segment. To be spread over 195 hectares of land, it will serve as a famous weekend spot for the visitors, who will have a thrilling experience of monorail and to have glimpse of wild-life in open fortified areas. The first phase of development will involve an expenditure of Rs. 260 crores.
The Chief Minister said that the construction of an Integrated Centre for people in need of institutional care under the Mukhyamantri Sukh-Aashrya Yojna was also proposed. The centre will be built on an approximate area of 120 kanals in Luthan Panchayat, in the Jwalamukhi assembly constituency. To expedite the establishment process, the Chief Minister directed the appointment of a consultant.
He also reviewed the construction of Rajiv Gandhi Day Boarding Schools in each assembly segment. The cabinet has approved the establishment of these schools in Jaisinghpur, Palampur, Shahpur, Nagrota Bagwan, Jawali, and Jaswan Pragpur assembly segments of Kangra District. These schools are expected to become symbols of quality education.
The MLAs present at the meeting also provided valuable suggestions to further enhance Kangra District’s potential as the tourism capital of the state.
Agriculture Minister Chander Kumar, Education Minister Rohit Thakur, Chairman, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation Raghuvir Singh Bali, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Ashish Butail and Kishori Lal, MLAs Sudhir Sharma, Bhawani Singh Pathania, Kewal Singh Pathania, Sanjay Rattan and Yadvinder Goma, Malender Rajan, Principal Advisor (IT and Innovations) Gokul Butail, District Congress President Ajay Mahajan, Deputy Commissioner Dr. Nipun Jindal, District level officers and other dignitaries were present amongst others.