Take a walk through the sea - Oceanarium to boost state tourism
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- Published 24.06.12
Bhubaneswar, June 23: If you are fascinated by the wonders of the sea and the very sight of marine creatures excites you, then your wait is almost over. Soon, you’ll be able to walk through a huge underwater viewing tunnel, come face-to-face with marine life and see how dolphins and whales interact with each other, right here in Odisha.
An oceanarium — a mega marine life aquarium — has been planned on the Konark-Puri Marine Drive. The Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC), which will be piloting the project, has also come up with many other plans such as water sports and eco-friendly resorts at major destinations on this route that is expected to revamp the tourism scenario of the state in a major way.
The oceanarium, which will be built in public-private-partnership mode, will exhibit around 200 species of marine animals that will include rare species from the Bay of Bengal such as the dolphins, the whales and many other sea animals and plants from different countries.
“We have been closely following the oceanarium designs in Sentosa in Singapore, Manila in the Philippines and the ones in Australia and England. An expression of interest was invited from various national and international builders teamed up with aquarium technology experts. We have reviewed the presentations of teams from the Manila Ocean Park, the Advanced Aquarium Technology of Australia, Odisha Dives — Art of Creation and Italian group Costa Edutainment,” said state tourism secretary Ashok Tripathy.
Apart from serving as a tourist spot, the oceanarium would also promote research infrastructure on marine life in the coast here, said Jaya Krishna Das, senior divisional manager of the OTDC.
“The plot chosen for the project is more than 1km away from the sea. Therefore, we would not need the permission of the coastal regulation zone. We are yet to decide if the entire design will be created by a master developer or if we will develop each segment of the oceanarium part by part. The budget for the oceanarium has roughly been estimated at Rs 300 crore,” said Das.
Chief secretary Bijay Patnaik, tourism and culture secretary Ashok Tripathy and several other senior officers visited the Puri-Konark Marine Drive on June 2 to select the sites.
Apart from the oceanarium, the tourism department also plans to come up with water sport facilities near Ramachandi and on the sea beach at Chandrabhaga.
“A few months ago, we had successfully organised a surfing festival at Ramachandi. A sand art festival in December also pulled in many tourists. We have thus planned to provide facilities of more water sport, such as water biking, parasailing, surfing and boat riding, here throughout the year. We have chosen four to five spots on the stretch of the Marine Drive for these projects,” said Tripathy.
“The projects will not only boost tourism in the golden triangle area of Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark, but also help ancillary development of the surrounding areas since local people will be employed in our facilities,” he said.