The Madhya Pradesh tourism department’s claims of developing Hanuwantiya as a water sports tourism complex seem to be fading with the water line receding in the area.
A visit to the tourist resort, which was inaugurated in February, exposes the lack of foresight by tourism department to develop it as a water sports complex and attract private investment, lies shattered as the administration has realized that the at best the complex will attract tourists only for a few months.
Receding water line will be a major problem: investor
“The water level in the area where the tourist spot has been created has receded by 50-60 ft and as summer has just started we expect the level to drop further,” said Naveen Sharma, manager of the tourist complex.
A private investor, who was once interested in investing but has pulled out after visiting the spot, said that receding water line will be a major problem. “You cannot be sure of the exact level of water…The dimensions keep on changing depending on the season,” he said.
Water levels will further recede in coming years: official
A senior official, who did not wish to be named, said water levels will further recede in the coming years due to the second phase of the Shree Singhaji thermal power plant coming up in the region.
“The thermal plant is currently using the water from the same source and once the second phase work begins more water will be used, which will reduce the levels,” he said.
This has forced authorities to adopt makeshift arrangements to operate the boat club at the complex. The tourist spot, which was earlier projected as a hub for water sports now, has only a speed boat and a paddle boat in operation. “Cruise boats cannot operate in such shallow water and paddles boats that developed technical faults have been sent them for repairs,” said Sharma.
“Water skiing will be available for tourists only during the winter water-sports festival,” he said.
Sharma, however, said that the complex can still be developed as a water sport tourist destination. “The only problem is that we need to continue to shift to areas where the water is deep,” he said.
The department has spend more than Rs 13 crore to construct the complex, branding and hiring people to bring employment for the otherwise drought-hit Khandwa district, but farmers said they are yet to get employment .
“We were promised jobs …but only five to six people have been hired by the tourism department. What kind of employment opportunity is this?” questions Anil Bangaria, a farmer who suffered crop damage.
Hanuwantiya will be promoted as a winter water sports destination: commissioner
Divisional commissioner Sanjay Dubey said Hanuwantiya will be promoted as a winter water sports destination.
Denying claims about private investors not interested in investing in a property at the tourist spot he said, “Mahindra holidays has come forward and taken a place near the tourist spot. Soon they will be developing a zone there which will bring in employment opportunities plus tourism as well.”