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The Punjab Government is soon going to make reality the dream project of Deputy Chief Minister S. Sukhbir Singh Badal as it had floated a scheme to promote water tourism in the state.

Stating this, an official spokesman said the amphibious vehicles with an ability to run both on water and land would be introduced in Harike wetlands, the largest Ramsar site in northern India, at the confluence of the Beas and Sutlej rivers. After offering sightseeing tour on land at Harike headworks, the dual mode bus would enter the lake so that visitors could glimpse the rich biodiversity of Harike wildlife sanctuary. Having an extended area of 8600 hectares the declared wetland is significant abode for the winged guests migrating from across the international frontiers.

He said tenders to invite manufacturers to supply one such tourist bus have been floated by the Punjab Heritage Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB). The spokesman said the department would invite representatives of manufacturing firms to give a presentation about the features of their bus units.

The dual mode bus equipped with indispensable accessories like life jackets, would have the capacity to carry 60 tourists, including 10 children. He said the cost of one bus would be around Rs 1.5-2 crore. The decision to purchase more buses will be taken after evaluating the performance of the first unit.

He said the government is hopeful of the success of the scheme which would put the state on the world map from tourism point of view. According to the spokesman after the scheme becomes reality, Punjab would be counted among the best tourism promoting states at par with the developed countries around the world.

It is worth mentioning here that the Indus Dolphin was recently sighted in the Beas river in the man-made riverine lacustrine Harike wetland spreads into the three districts of Amritsar, Ferozepur and Kapurthala and covers an area of 4100 hectares. Besides, Punjab Government is also planning to release 10 gharials in the Harike wetlands as the first step to increase their numbers and to attract more tourists.


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