People fond of visiting the Sabbalpur Diara will have a lot more to enjoy on the sandbar this year after the Ganga water recedes.
Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) has decided to go big with the development of the sandbar this time. Visitors would be able to experience water and adventure sports, and enjoy delicious snacks at the food court of Sabbalpur Diara. There would also be an amusement park for children.
Rain caused by cyclone Phailin has led to an increase in the water level of the Ganga. But the BSTDC officials claimed that the water would recede within a month and their project would not be affected.
The facility — that remains closed during monsoon — would open in mid-November this year and entertain visitors till April next year.
“The rise in the water level is only temporary. The water usually recedes fast at this time of the year. We intend to open the facilities from mid-November,” said a senior BSTDC officer.
The corporation started to develop the sandbar — surrounded by the Ganga and the Gandak — in 2010. It remains open during winter. Over the past three years, the sandbar has been one of the most popular destinations on Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s Day. Besides festivals, the sandbar is also crowded on other days.
Two all-terrain vehicles were the major attractions at the sandbar last year. A kite festival and an aero-modelling show were also hosted at the sandbar in January this year.
At present, the BSTDC is in the process of selecting a firm, which would develop and operate the facilities at the sandbar. All facilities would be temporary and the rates for different activities and products would be approved by the corporation, which would also provide a jetty at the northern bank of the Ganga (at Gandhi Ghat) for visitors. MV Ganga Vihar — the lone floating restaurant in the city — would also be put into service to take visitors from the riverbank to the sandbar and vice-versa.
Those planning to have party at night on the sandbar could be in for a disappointment. Sabbalpur Diara would be open only between sunrise and sunset. Smoking and drinking on the sandbar is also prohibited.
Two lifeguards would be deployed to help visitors enjoy the water sports facilities safely. Visitors would also be provided with lifejackets, when they enjoy rides on the speedboat, jet ski and water scooters.