Beach project awaits nod
Bhubaneswar: The ambitious Shamuka beach tourism project near Puri, conceived in 1966, has been hanging fire as the Union ministry of environment & forest and climate change is yet to clear it.
"Two rounds of hearing are already over and the next hearing is expected soon. The construction of the project will be taken up once we obtain the necessary permission," said tourism minister Ashok Chandra Panda.
The State Pollution Control Board has cleared the proposal and the Odisha Coastal Zone Management Authority has recommended to the Coastal Regulation Zone for clearance of the project.
However, environmental activists have been opposing the project saying that the state government is going ahead with the project in contravention of the Coastal Regulatory Zone norms.
The proposed project site is located at the confluence Mangala river and Bay of Bengal. The main components of the project, which is spread over 972.64 acres, includes 13 luxury hotels, 18-hole golf courses and golf villas, residential condominiums, hospitality institute, high street bazaar and a gurukul. A crafts village and a riverfront were also envisaged under the projects to woo tourists.
In 2007, the Environment Planning and Technology Centre had proposed an estimate of Rs 141.64 crore for creation of common infrastructure for the project, which was to be set up 8km south of Puri town.
However, litigation over land had come in the way of the project. But in November 2011, Orissa High Court restored the land in government records, paving the way for construction of the longstanding project.
The state government has acquired around 1,000 acres of land in Sipasarubali mouza and initiated measures to provide external infrastructure facilities such as road, electricity and water supply.
"A power station has been set up at the project site and once all the clearances are available water will be supplied to it through pipelines," said Panda.
The state government has initiated steps for the formation of a joint venture company named Shamuka Tourism Development Corporation Limited to implement the ambitious project in public-private partnership mode, official sources said.