The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation is planning to turn the Ganga into an amusement hub to draw visitors to the state.
At least three more ghats in the city will get a facelift to pave way for water sports and recreation. The tourism corporation is planning to operate three houseboats, two jet skis, a kayak, a canoe and a cruise at the three ghats in public-private partnership mode.
Water sport facilities were introduced at Mahendru Ghat and Gandhi Ghat earlier. The services are now irregular there, but the state tourism development corporation is keen on extending the facilities at the three other ghats.
“Water sports in Ganga has been very popular and the tourism department is willing to start more such facilities in Patna. Kali Ghat, Gai Ghat (Patna City) and the Law College Ghat have been selected for the purpose,” a senior officer with the corporation told The Telegraph on Monday.
He said: “The department will implement the plan in the public-private partnership mode. Three houseboats (with one or two bedrooms), a cruise steamer with a capacity to accommodate 100 people, two jet skis, two kayaks and two canoes will be made available at these ghats. The advertisements regarding this would be published in a day or two and interested firms can come to the corporation for the formalities.”
While the corporation is keen on promoting water sports in the state capital, Banjara Tours and Travels — the company operating the water sports facilities at Mahendru Ghat — has suspended its services. The other firm — Royale Ganges Private Limited — operating at Gandhi Ghat is also contemplating to call it quits. But the government has no plan to stop the company.
On the dissent of Royale Ganges Private Limited, the officer said if the firm was unwilling to provide services, they were welcome to leave. Sources said the corporation is confident that if one company quits, “many more will approach”.
“The corporation believes there are many other companies which are keen on providing their services. There will always be a positive response. Some of the demands of Royale Ganges Private Limited are unrealistic. They want permanent ticket counters to be set up. We don’t want many permanent settlements in the form of rooms along the Ganga. Why cannot the company put up tents or canopies and use them as ticket counters?” the officer asked.
Earlier, Tejkar Jha, the director of Royale Ganges Private Limited, had said that the firm had offer from Gujarat to operate recreation facilities but it would provide services in Patna for some time with the hope that the corporation would heed to their demands.
“We are providing services at Gandhi Ghat. But the government is not acting professionally. The government doesn’t know how to retain entrepreneurs. There are several problems and the corporation is not there to solve them.The government’s attitude should change. Otherwise no one would invest in Bihar,” Jha had said.
Mithilesh Kumar, the proprietor of Banjara Tours and Travels, sounded a bit reluctant to leave Patna.
“The services have been stopped because the water-level is high and there is a risk factor attached to water sports. We will resume the services by September 17 once the water-level recedes,” he said.