Pong Dam Will emerge hub of adventure activities
Will be developed as a major tourist destination
Famous as an abode for migratory birds, particularly the Siberian cranes and other hundreds of other species from Russia and trans-Antarctic regions, the Pong Dam reservoir, is a man made reservoir on the Beas River in the wet land of Shivalik hills of Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Also named as Maharana Pratap Sagar it is a famous wildlife sanctuary and one of the 25 International wetland sites as declared by Ramsar Convention on wetlands. Pong Dam Lake has been declared as a ‘Wetland of National Importance (Ramsar Site) in November 2002.
Under the guidance of Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, the State government is exploring possibilities to create adequate infrastructure around the lake and start water sports and other allied activities so that it can attract visitors throughout the year. The Government intends to develop this lake by creating added infrastructure and even starting Shikharas in the back waters of the lake. The state government will support the youth by providing financial assistance to buy Shikaras, aiming to create employment opportunities in the area. The present State Government has allocated Rs. 70 crore for the purpose. The Plan includes the introduction of hot air ballooning activities and the construction of a Floating hotel, said the Chief Minister. The State Government is contemplating to open a floating hotel in Pong Dam to facilitate the tourists visiting the area. In addition to this, hot air ballooning activities will also be started in the Dam area to provide an added attraction to adventure lovers.
Stretched upto an area of 24,529 hectares with few habitated islands, Pong Reservoir caters to the needs of fishermen in a big way and is the most important source of economy to hundreds of families engaged in the business.
However, despite such a spectacle of nature, the tourism potential of the lake is yet to be tapped to its full. The Government is keen to develop it as an internationally recognized wetland and the much visited area for bird watching as it receives more than one lakh migratory birds every year, which is a major attraction to tourists besides ornithologists.
In order to encourage the local youth to be partners in the development of the areas, stress will be laid on motivating them to involve them in tourism related activities, he said.