Union Home Minister Amit Shah on April 10 inaugurated the Indo-Pakistan border viewing point in Rann of Kutch’s Nadabet region as a part of its Seema Darshan project. The new tourist attraction located 188 km from Ahmedabad is also being referred to as the ‘Wagah of Gujarat’ and is connected by a narrow road across mudflats that get flooded during high tide.
What is Seema Darshan Project?
Seema Darshan is the access provided to civilians to view the international border with Pakistan. The posts are guarded by the Border Security Force (BSF) in the Banaskantha district of Gujarat. It is a joint initiative of the tourism department of the state government and BSF Gujarat Frontier. The focus lies in developing border tourism in these regions that share a border with neighbouring countries and has a spare population.
The project is aimed to boost tourism and lessen migration from villages across the border to India. . Pakistan is located 150 meters from the border pillar 960 at Nadabet. ML Garaf, Deputy Inspector General of BSF informed that BSF will conduct a parade like that held at the Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar but there will be none from Pakistan’s side.
The parade will be held in the evening in an open-air auditorium, 30 kms from the border that can hold 5,000 people.
The place will further offer adventures like rifle shooting, rock climbing, zipline, and other activities. There will be a viewing gallery, and a museum with exhibits like MIG-27, aircraft, and other war weapons. The maintenance of the tourist spot has been outsourced to Laloonji and sons that manage tourism operations of Rann Utsav in the adjoining Kutch district.
Role of the Indo Pak border point in 1971 war
Nadabet was used by the BSF to stall the enemy trying to invade from the west and helped them capture 15 enemy points. Maps show movements of the BSF battalions capturing enemy positions during the war. BSF captured 1,038 square km of Pakistan, which was later returned in the Shimla agreement.
Getting to the Nadabet border
Nadabet can be reached only through a road guarded by the BSF from Suigam and lies close to the Nadeshwari Mataji temple. Most of the attractions developed as part of the Rs 125 crore Seema Darshan project are at the T-junction, but visitors can take special permission to view the border about 25 km further north of the T-junction. At Zero Point, a high watchtower has been erected that gives visitors a view into Pakistani territory.
A bus facility has been provided for the tourists which cannot avail private vehicles.
Visitors’ response to Nadabet so far
Weekdays see 4,000 visitors while weekends witness 10,000-20,000 headcount, said an official. There is no facility for an overnight stay as of now. The border visit timings are from 9 am to 7 pm. There is a nominal entry fee of Rs 100 for adults and Rs 50 for children above the age of two. Extra payment needs to be made for rides and adventure activities.
Shah had said the place will generate five lakh jobs over 10 years.