Mega plan to tap Puri's tourism potential

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  • Published 27.09.11

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 26: The Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) chalked out a mega plan today, on the eve of World Tourism Day, to promote Puri as a popular religious destination and house a unique art and craft complex and interpretation centre.

The proposed tourism circuit will be part of a huge complex inside the Jagannath Ballav Matha along the Grand Road. A museum, facade repair and painting the Grand Road with uniform colour code, underground cabling for safer and smoother rath yatra, illumination of the Jagannath and Gundicha temples and repair of sea beach promenade will also be part of the project, which would require an investment of around Rs 15 crore.

“OTDC has applied for permission from the Puri Konark Development Authority and it would be granted soon. Both the ‘matha’ and Jagannath temple authorities have already given a go-ahead in this matter as it would help in developing the 42-acre Jagannath Ballav Matha as one of the major tourist destinations before the Nabakalebara ceremony in 2015,” said OTDC chairman Jyotiskar Mohapatra.

Nabakalebara is a special ceremony celebrated every 12 years when not just the chariots but also the Trinity is made from fresh timber or Daru brahma as the log is referred to in ancient religious scriptures. Jaya Krushna Das, senior divisional manager (projects) of OTDC, said: “Already 50 per cent of the projects under the mega circuit plan have gone through the tendering process and others will follow soon. There will be open pindis (platforms) for 192 vendors selling craft items on the Grand Road. Likewise 160 shopowners from the Grand Road will be rehabilitated at a double-storey craft complex. Inside the matha roads, walkways and seven water bodies will also be renovated.”

To provide information on the Jagannath culture, an interpretation centre with all kinds of pictorial and audio-visual tools would be established.

The OTDC has given Rs 1.44 crore to Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) for underground cabling as the open electric poles create problems during rath yatra.

“The CESU will need more funding which would be provided by the energy department. But to start the project, OTDC has contributed its share,” said Das.

Similarly, a low-consumption lighting system using light emitting diodes (LED) has been planned both for the Jagannath and Gundicha temples. However, even the old lighting system will be in place.

“Though the LED lights will be used for lighting, the old system will be used as a standby unit in case of emergencies,” said Das. A provision of Rs 1 crore has been made for uniform colour codes for houses along the Grand Road. “The circuit will be ready within two years,” said an OTDC official.

Mohapatra and other officials of OTDC, however, refuted reports regarding building of a replica of the Jagannath temple inside the matha.