By Aamil Khan
Narmada Valley Medium Dam Reservoirs: Unexploited Potential of Local Tourism
Water bodies have always been attracting people since time immemorial. Water bodies create natural atmosphere in which a man feels peace of mind. In old ages, natural water bodies used to attract the human populace to reside around these water bodies. In present time when irrigation became the topmost priority for food grain production, dams have been built on rivers. These dams create man made water bodies. These water bodies (reservoirs),beside fulfilling the need of irrigation through canal network, provide many indirect benefits like pisciculture, water transport and tourism.
Dam reservoirs support the ecology of the area. Reservoirs boost the natural forest spread around it. As a result, variety of wildlife and chirping birds can be seen wandering around water bodies. Thus, water bodies provide an incomparable natural beauty to the area.
Madhya Pradesh is blessed by the mighty river Narmada along with hundreds of its tributaries. Of these, the main tributaries whose individual catchment area exceeds 500 sq.kms number 41. Out of these 41 main tributaries, 39 lie in Madhya Pradesh. Looking at this large family of Narmada, Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (Govt. of India) allocated 18.25 MAF (million-acre feet) water, which is almost 65% of the total water of the Narmada basin. The state has to utilize this water for irrigation purpose. In compliance with the award, Madhya Pradesh has built major dam projects on river Narmada and many small dam projects on its tributaries. The major dam project reservoirs are Rani Avantibai Sagar in Jabalpur district, Indira Sagar reservoir and Onkareshwar reservoir in Khandwa district. These major reservoirs are well known across the state and outside. A few years back, Hanuwantiya tourist spot was developed, which is now a major tourist attraction for urban tourists. However, the medium dam reservoirs of the valley situated in far off places still remain to be explored from the point of local tourist potential which may provide comparatively cheaper tourist destinations for the locals along with revenue generation.
Some of the dam reservoirs situated in the dense forest area of the state having great local tourism potential are as follows:-
- Maan dam Reservoir constructed on river Maan situated in the forest area near village Jirabad of district Dhar. Masonry dam with height of 53 metres and length of 138 metres creates a beautiful water body.
- Shaheed Chandrashekhar Azad dam reservoir (Jobat Dam reservoir). A masonry dam of 38.6 metres height and 148 metres long length has been constructed on river Hathini in Alirajpur district. The hilly area and dense forest create a beautiful natural scenery.
- Upper Beda dam reservoir situated on Upper Beda river in Khargone district. Surrounded by hills and forests, the 191 metrer long and 35 metrer high masonry dam is another untouched water body from the point of local tourism.
- Shaheed Bhima Nayak (Lower Goi) dam reservoir situated in the forest area of Barwani district. The dam on Goi river creates another natural beauty
- Halone dam reservoir -This reservoir is situated in Mandla district on river Halone in Bichhiya block is yet another unexploited water body.
These are some of the reservoirs which are having great tourism potential. The basic requirement to explore these reservoirs is to provide comfortable connectivity of roads. There is much land lying around these reservoirs. Amusement parks, eateries, night stay facilities, boating, water sports and other tourist attractions can be developed on these spots.
These reservoirs with tourist attraction facilities will undoubtedly attract large number of local tourists. These spots can also be associated with local rural and tribal cultural festivities. There is utmost need to explore these and some of others dam reservoirs in the Narmada valley.