Mumbai: In a significant decision, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to partially amend the Official Secrets Act of 1923 concerning the Koyna reservoir to facilitate tourism development in the region. "This decision will greatly enhance water tourism in Satara district," Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said.
State's plan to develop world-class water tourism center
"With this decision, only the dam and the surrounding area within 7 km will be notified as a restricted zone, while the rest of the backwater area up to Tapola, about 80 km from the dam wall, will be opened up for tourism-related activities," he added. The Shiv Sagar lake, formed by the Koyna dam, is approximately 50 km in length. To ensure the dam's safety, the area up to 7 km from the dam wall is still preserved as a restricted zone. Additionally, an extra 2 km beyond that will serve as a buffer zone. The rest of the reservoir area will be made available for water tourism, CM Shinde stated.
The state government plans to develop a world-class water tourism center at Munawale in Jawli taluka through the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), for which an allocation of Rs 47 crore has already been made.
The Koyna Dam, with a wall height of 103.2 meters and a length of 800 meters, is the largest dam in the state. Located on the Koyna River, which originates in Mahabaleshwar, a hill station in the Sahyadri mountain ranges, the dam supplies water to Mumbai and Pune. This part of the Western Ghats is renowned for its pristine natural beauty, with high mountain ranges surrounding the reservoir. The surrounding areas of Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Wai, and Kas Pathar are already major tourist destinations in India. The new project will offer an alternative tourist destination and help utilise the tourism potential of the area to a greater extent. This initiative will strengthen the local economy and enhance the region's employment opportunities. The state plans to develop the area using sustainable development measures, CM Shinde explained, highlighting how the project will contribute to the state's tourism potential and assist in achieving development goals.