The territory known for its Portuguese legacy, Daman, Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli (DD & DNH) looks set to harness its great tourism potential courtesy several initiatives taken by the administration. The consequent upsurge in tourism besides the new ONGC project on the anvil have potential to change the face of this region that is already bestowed with exquisite natural wonders. The change is being spearheaded by the young and hard-working bureaucrat Ashish Kundra, who has been appointed as the Administrator DD & DNH by the President of India.
The residents of DD & DNH are eagerly awaiting the commencement of gas production by India’s state-owned petroleum and gas explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) off the Daman coast. In a recent development, ONGC board has approved an investment of Rs. 5,219 crore to enhance natural gas and condensate production from Tapti Daman block in the Arabian Sea. As per a letter written by ONGC to Administrator Ashish Kundra, gas production off Daman coast is expected to commence by July 2016.
Local residents are upbeat about the development and know for sure that jobs galore are coming their way. Already talk of its impact on social, cultural and economic growth has begun. “We have come a long way from the time when Portuguese interest in DD & DNH was confined to teak wood forests for ship building and as a transit point for opium supply that contribute to the revenue of the Portuguese crown,” informed an upbeat resident.
Kundra, however, is not confining his hopes merely on the ONGC gas production. He is trying to utilize his dynamism to the full by taking new initiatives and foster new tie-ups with a view to develop the tourism potential of this exquisitely beautiful region. He is also trying to reap maximum benefit for the region out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. As part of ‘Make in India’ initiative, already ‘superb response’ has been received by the industry leaders in Daman. Laws are being reframed so as to provide simplified industrial clearances in both Union Territories of Daman and DNH. And collectors have been told to take industrial investment proposals under their charge and give a regular report to the Administrator on status of clearances.
As part of the initiative, Kundra has already met representatives from a Japanese bank seeking international cooperation and inviting investment in the region. A MoU has recently been signed with the Shipping Corporation of India to float bids for Catamaran Services between Mumbai and Diu, with a possible halt at Daman. The catamaran service is expected to commence within a year, thereby opening another tourist route to the Union Territories.
Seeing the great potential of the region, Kundra tried to take benefit out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s another novel scheme – the Swachh Bharat Mission – started on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, to initiate a cleanliness drive in Silvassa and several beaches along the Arabian Sea. Councilors and panchayat members from the region participated whole-heartedly in making this initiative a huge success.
The exquisite shades of Arabian Sea off the Daman Coast, the calm and serene Dudhni lake, the forts of the region known for their exclusive architecture and amazing beauty of Dudhni lake; tourism potential of the region now appears set to be harnessed. The pristine Satmalia forest and its wildlife that have fascinated the locals as well as tourists looks set to have more visitors whereas Kundra is also exploring avenues to utilize the big potential of water sport and adventure sports activities at the breathtakingly beautiful Dudhni lake.