Though the state government is extending a red carpet to investors to explore the business potential of the hospitality sector on the two lush green islands situated deep in the Ranjit Sagar Dam lake, locals are not ready to buy the project due to the distance and risk involved in these destinations.
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has been trying to develop the area with the help of pioneers in the field of tourism and has planned to take them on a special tour of the place on November 8.
The 14-km lake formed to construct the Ranjit Sagar Dam had drowned many villages and small hillocks except two small hills in the Shivalik range, namely Kulara and Musharba.
It is learnt that through the RSD official steamer, it takes 45 minutes to reach one of the islands, while a boat can drop people from Dhar village in nearly two hours. However, this involves high risk due to the depth of the lake.
The tourist destination, if developed, may remain confined to the ‘creamy layer’ of society, said Kamal Kumar of Shahpur Kandi.
“I doubt people will prefer this place over Dalhousie which is situated at a distance of only one hour from here. To add to it, Dalhousie has no risk and also has more facilities,” he added.
He said there were many destinations which could be developed near Shahpur Kandi and would see more tourists compared to the islands on the dam.
“The lake is very large and can provide many points for tourism, which includes the area where five beautiful huts already exist and give a glimpse of the picturesque hills,” he said.
Rajesh Pushkarna, who arranges his company meetings every month at various locations, said the space must be easily approachable.
“I think the deputy chief minister must consider some approachable spaces if he seriously wants to tap the tourism potential in the area,” he said.
When asked about his plans to accompany Sukhbir and other hospitality tycoons to the islands, Pathankot deputy commissioner Sukhvinder Singh said he was yet to get instructions from his officers.
“I cannot tell you if I will go there or stay on this side of the lake,” he said.