Maharashtra to develop new tourism centre near Khadakwasla dam

A new tourist attraction is set to come up in Maharashtra. The state Water Resources Department (WRD) has decided to use 28 acres of unused land in the vicinity of Khadakwasla dam to set up an amusement park, water sports, multipurpose pavilion, a village theme, a restaurant and a resort.

The irrigation department has sought proposals from interested organisations to use the land, to be developed as a tourism destination on Built Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis, according to a report in The Indian Express. As per the plan, the basic idea of the proposal is the beautification of Khadakwasla dam, and the development of the unused excess land in the vicinity of the dam area for tourism. The land is distributed in five plots, three in Kopre village and two in Khadakwasla village.

The WRD intends to earn the maximum revenue through such tourist centres, which will be sufficient to mitigate the annual costs of maintenance of the dam, including its safety feature, the officer said, adding that the beautification work will be done by the developer with limited access to the area. The developer has to maintain the entire illumination system and operate it during the full 30-year period of the lease of the unused excess land. This work is mandatory and should be completed by the developer within the first two years from the date of the agreement.

The safety of the ecology in the area, its flora and fauna, and wildlife should not be disturbed, and the responsibility will be on the developer to follow all legal provisions related to environment protection, the officer added.

Tourists will not be allowed to enter the reservoir water or the canal. Water sports will be prohibited in the monsoon period in case the water level in the reservoir goes above the full level. Further, no permanent structure will be allowed within the blue line and restricted area from the dam, Indian Express reported.

The main theme of the proposal includes a miniature park, a museum, gift shops, a planetarium and a banquet hall. The miniature park may include famous buildings and the Seven Wonders of the World. The museum will include the history, photographs and technical information of the Khadakwasla dam. A mini-theatre would display a show on the disaster flood of 1961 at Panshet and Khadakwasla dams. The planetarium would present shows about astronomy or offer training in celestial navigation, mostly for children. The banquet hall can provide a space for gatherings, wherein people from and around Pune can rent the hall and host events, the report said.

The proposal also includes the building of a resort and a convention centre. It is proposed to have multiple restaurants inside theme parks. The multi-purpose pavilion is proposed to provide a hall for exhibitions for art and science, as well as for product launches, fun fairs and food festivals.