Manavadar, a town in Junagadh district and part of the constituency of Tourism Minister Jawahar Chavda, is set to get a riverfront along the banks of the Kharo river, for which the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) has floated tenders.
The development comes in this tiny town, not known as a tourist destination, one-and-half-years after Jawahar Chavda, sitting Congress MLA from Manavadar, quit the party, defected to the BJP and was made Minister of Tourism and Fisheries.
The TCGL, a public sector undertaking under the aegis of the state tourism department, has floated tenders for developing a riverfront on the east bank of Kharo river that flows on the eastern periphery of Manavadar town. The TCGL, whose mandate is to promote tourism and tourism infrastructure in the state, estimates the project to cost Rs 25 crore and is expected to be completed in 18 months.
TCGL officials told The Indian Express that in the first phase of the project, the eastern bank of Kharo river will be developed. “Initially, there were plans to develop a riverfront on either bank of the river. But then it was decided to develop only the east front of the river in the first phase. The western bank development can be taken up at a later stage,” said an officer.
riverfront will cover the riverbank stretch beginning from the historic Navnala Bridge to Kharo veer 2.1 km downstream. The TCGL will construct a retaining wall, reclaim land and develop a flower garden, an amphitheatre, a walkway, an open-air yoga centre and three toilet blocks.
An officer privy to the project said, “The plan is to follow the model of Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad.”
With this, Manavadar is set to become the second town in Saurashtra region of the state to have a riverfront. Rajkot Municipal Corpora-tion is also in the process of developing Aji riverfront in Rajkot.
Manavadar taluka is an important cotton producing block and is the Assembly constituency from where Chavda was elected five times. He won four elections from this constituency as a Congress nominee.
Last year, he quit Congress, defected to the ruling BJP and was sworn in as Minister of Tourism and Fisheries in the cabinet of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. In the subsequent bypoll to Manavadar Assembly seat, he contested on a BJP ticket and won it. Chavda is also chairman of Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) of Manavadar, an important wholesale market of cotton. He also owns a ginning and pressing factory there and used to live in a bungalow on the factory premises till a few years ago. Since then, he has moved to Junagadh city.
The TCGL has also floated tenders for developing Choreshwar waterfalls on Madhuvanti river near Mendarda town of Junagadh. The TCGL proposes to develop a garden, a sitting area, a parking lot, a garden and a toilet block at the cost of Rs 2.73 crore. Choreshwar is associated with the mythology of marriage of Lord Krishna to Rukmini.
While Chavda said that he would respond to The Indian Express query later on as he was attending the ongoing monsoon session of the Assembly, Jenu Devan, managing director of TCGL, said the riverfront project will become a tourist attraction. “When you develop a riverfront there, naturally, people get an additional tourist spot to spend their time,” Deven told The Indian Express.
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