Rs 2,000-cr winter sport resort proposed

Tribune News Service
Shimla, December 12
The state government and the Himalayan Ski Village, owned by the Ford Motor Company, will be signing an MOU for the setting up of a Rs 2,000 crore integrated winter sport hill resort in Himachal.We are working out the modalities and a meeting will be held with the Union Tourism ministry officials in New Delhi next week, before the feasibility study is initiated, said Mr John Robert Sim, who is here to attend the Himachal Tourism Conclave. He said though he was open to having his project either in Himachal or Uttranchal but if all goes well it would be located in HP.

Mr Sim said the MoU with the state government would be signed next month so as to work out the future working relationship in principle before the huge investment is made.

What I am looking at is an international standard resort complete with a variety of hotels, parks, malls which are rooted in the Himalayan architecture style to give the traveler a unique experience, he said. The resort would be located above the height of 8,000 feet and would require roughly an area of 100 hectares.

I have extensively traveled within Himachal but we have yet to finalise the location of the resort though we have zeroed on different sites at Manali, Chansel in Rohru or in the Kangra valley, he said. Mr Sim, who is already engaged in the tourism sector in West Bengal and diamond mining in Andhra Pradesh, says he would prefer having an air strip as well, provided the government gives the go ahead.

He says issues like access, snow cover and most importantly the local community welcome was essential. We will be pro-active in being environmentally sound as well as ensuring that the resort products are socially responsible, he emphasizes.

The resort, he says, will have provision for both winter as well as summer sports and will showcase the art, culture, folk and festivals of the area. To begin with we would want international ski events to be organised at the resort and later we are aiming for nothing less than the Olympics, he says spelling out his ambitious plans.

Mr Sim feels that two areas where the government needs to work is improving the transport infrastructure and focus on quality constructions, which are in conformity with the hill architecture. There has been a horrible construction sprawl which is neither aesthetic nor safe, so political will is required to discipline and stop this completely, he said.

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