The Sikkim tourism department seems to have finally zeroed in on a private firm to run Kanchenjungha tourist villa
Gangtok, Sept. 2: The Sikkim tourism department seems to have finally zeroed in on a private firm to run Kanchenjungha tourist villa, a Rs 55 crore amusement park at Ranka.
The park had been touted a major tourist attraction and a much-needed recreational centre for people in and around Gangtok.
But the facility hasn’t been opened to the public, even 16 months after it was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil. The delay has been attributed to the government’s inability to find a private firm to operate the park on lease.
Four tenders had been floated since April last year to seek a firm to operate and maintain the park.
The rural development department, the nodal agency for the construction of the park, had last year floated two tenders, which were scrapped at the last moment. The first tender was aborted as it was bagged by master con man Rajesh Jhunjhunwala on the basis of fake bank documents. The second tender was scrapped as the government decided to hand over the park to the tourism department.
The tourism department also floated two tenders and there were no takers for the first one.
“A private company, which quoted the highest bid, has been selected from the second tender. The state government is likely to give its approval to the firm,” said a senior tourism official.
But the tourism officials were non-committal on when the park would be declared open for the public.
With no firm in charge to run the park on a commercial basis, the facility is lying idle.
A couple of security guards from a private agency are posted at the park at Ranka, 35km from Gangtok. They while away all the time with no tourist making a beeline for the park.
“Tourists do come here enquiring about the amusement park and they return when we tell them that it has not been opened for public as yet. They must have heard about the park here,” said one of the guards posted outside the locked park.
Fourteen private security personnel man the park, which is spread over 17.5 acres.
“Everything seems to be complete inside and all machines are fine. Sometimes, officials from the government and the construction company come for maintenance. Rest of the time, it is all quiet here,” said the guard.
The project funded by the Centre is a unique tourism attraction fusing cultural ethos of Sikkim and modern amusement amenities with the objective of providing wholesome entertainment to tourists.
The park has 12 shopping arcades for selling handicrafts and souvenirs of Sikkim. There are also amusement facilities like musical fountain with laser shows, a multilevel plaza, open air theatre, ride stimulators, swimming pool, bar and bowling alleys.
-TT BIJOY GURUNG