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Plan To Develop Pong Dam For Tourism Opposed
June 05, 2011
 
Plan To Develop Pong Dam For Tourism Opposed


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110606/himachal.htm#2

5 June 2011

Lalit Mohan, Dharamshala:

The first phase of the plan to develop the area near Pong Dam structure as a tourist destination, using the funds sourced from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has drawn criticism from oustees living in the vicinity of the Pong Dam lake. They are sore at not being taken into confidence while chalking out the plan.

The government has planned to spend Rs 10 crore in initial phase to develop the area near the Pong Dam structure for attracting tourists. Sources told The Tribune that as per the plan worked out by the Department of Tourism authorities at Shimla, most of the amount was likely to be spent in the area near the Pong Dam structure.

The department has planned to spend about Rs 2 crore on constructing a parking place near the Pong Dam structure for tourists. The move has been termed as wastage of money by the people from the surrounding areas.

Rajiv Sharma, who lives in the area along the Pong Dam lake, said till date few tourists came to visit Pong Dam. The government should first create infrastructure around the lake that attracted tourists rather than creating a parking facility.

As per the plan, the Department of Tourism has also planned to bring up a tourist reception centre at a cost of about Rs 1.5 crore near the Pong Dam structure. The people of the area are, however, saying that the tourist reception centre should be created at the Gaggal airport or any other place where the tourist land so that they can be guided to visit the Pong Dam lake area.

The stake holders also lodged their protest against the initial plan chalked out for spending Rs 10 crore for developing tourism in their area, at a meeting held at the district headquarters in the recent past.

Some participants said developing the entire infrastructure for tourism near the Pong Dam structure would be a waste of funds. Due to security reasons, there are restrictions on the tourists visiting the Pong Dam structure. In the near future the security of Pong Dam is likely to be handed over to the CISF that is going to make things more complex.

The government should, in fact, provide basic infrastructure to private entrepreneurs who want to create places for attracting tourists to the area. The much-celebrated village tourism should be promoted. There are many landmarks as the rock cut Masroor Temples, the heritage properties of former Guler state and Kangra art centres that can attract tourists to the vicinity of the Pong Dam lake.

If the government involves the locals, it can help generate employment and increase tourism in the Pong Dam area.