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Shimmer of hope for Hatia reservoir park

FACELIFT ON ANVIL: Hatia Dam park in Ranchi

Ranchi: Seven private companies are learnt to have evinced interest in revamping and running the Hatia Dam park and, if all goes well, the Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) may be able to handpick a suitable agency by early February.

Once the contract is inked, the selected agency will have six months to give the three-acre park a facelift, complete with recreation options and food stalls.

Speaking to this newspaper on Tuesday, JTDC general manager Rajiv Ranjan said they were currently evaluating and vetting proposals received from the companies, all of which were based in Jharkhand.

"Most of the private agencies are from Ranchi. A couple of them are from other parts of the state. We are going through their proposals. This is among our priority projects this year and we hope to seal the deal by the end of this month (January) or early February," Ranjan said, adding that after Hatia Dam, they would shift focus on other picturesque reservoirs in and around the capital.

In 2009, the state tourism department had invested around Rs 2.5 crore to build the park, 15km from the city, complete with food kiosks, slides for children, benches for the elderly and walking trails, among other things. However, lack of maintenance for years took a severe toll on the park.

Though tourism officials under successive governments proposed makeover of the place, their plans never fructified. Finally, in October last year, the JTDC woke up to the dire need to revamp the park and floated expressions of interest. While seven companies have come forward, officials are still keeping their fingers crossed.

Weekend visitors to Hatia Dam were mostly sceptical.

Shambhu Keshari, a businessman from Dhurwa, said if revamp of a park was dragging its feet for all these years, there had to be lack of vision somewhere. "The tourism and forest departments should have teamed up to fix the park. Let's see if the private agency to be selected does its job," he said.

Ghanesh Jha of Lalpur suggested developing the park in a phased manner. "For starters, the greens can be manicured and modular toilets installed. Slowly, recreation options and food kiosks can be set up. Common sense says the (tourism) department should take one step at a time and see how that works," Jha said.

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