The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dose of adventure for industry

Haldia (East Midnapore), Feb. 2: In a bid to make the port town a more exciting destination for potential investors and to meet the demands of the corporates already here, a plan has been unveiled to introduce facilities for adventure tourism.

The Haldia Development Authority has identified areas like Balurghata, Casuarina Forest, Nayachar Island and Geonkhali to build up the adventure tourism facilities.

The chief executive officer of the authority, A. Subbaia, said officials — many of them foreigners — involved with the corporate houses here had evinced desire to have adventure sports facilities here.

“Particularly the Japanese officials belonging to companies like Mitsubishi and Mitsui are very much interested in adventure activities like camping, water sports, rock climbing and ballooning. We have already identified places where we can organise them,” said Subbaia.

The authority officials said new corporate concepts attached a lot of importance to at least three weeks of holidaying and adventure sports in a year.

“Today, an industrial hub should offer adventure sports facilities for entrepreneurs and the officials posted there. The concept had caught on in Europe long back,” said an official.

Besides corporates, Subbaia said, the adventure sports set-up will attract tourists to Haldia.

“We are also trying to make Haldia attractive to tourists. That is why we are taking up river-front development and eco-tourism projects along with adventure sports. We have sought assistance from the fisheries department and some private companies, including Bengal Ambuja,” he added.

“Forests, rivers and hills are the basic requisites to develop a town as an adventure sports hub. We have the river but we don’t fulfil the other conditions. So, we are purchasing an artificial rock wall. Twenty-five-foot high, this wall can be rotated and tilted to the climber’s convenience,” he said.

At Nayachar, the authority will create a 100-acre forest with the help of the fisheries department. The forest on the island will provide an ideal destination for camping expeditions, officials said.

The authorities are planning to develop Geonkhali as a centre for water sports. A cruiser boat with a capacity of 16 passengers has been purchased at a cost of Rs 9 lakh. Pedal boats also form part of the shopping list.

Apart from adventure sports to attract tourists and lure industry, the authorities have decided to set up an amusement park and floating cafes on the Hooghly river.

“Tourists will be able to go up in balloons from boats on the river for a breathtaking view of the sunset,” said the authority’s chairman, Lakshman Seth.

The authority has also decided to build a 70-km highway connecting Digha to the town.

“We have sought funds from the Prime Minister’s Maha Sadak Yojna. For the project to be complete, a Rs 40-crore bridge has to be built between Haldia and Nandigram,” said Seth.

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