Tourism boost plan on cards

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  • Published 21.02.12

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 20: The state tourism department will start three more tourist interpretation centres at Jayadev Vatika near Khandagiri, the international peace pagoda at Dhauli and the historic Barunei hills near Khurda.

These centres would be in addition to the one that is nearing completion near the Khandagiri-Udaygiri caves, which was planned to showcase the tourism potential of the golden triangle — Konark, Puri and Bhubaneswar — and other lesser-known sites around the capital.

The Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) is developing this centre, which will have a crafts village, food court with an array of Odia cuisine, public convenience hub, an entertainment area with audio-visual facility and a parking space. This concept will be replicated at Jayadev Vatika near Khandagiri. It will have a centre imparting knowledge on the medicinal plant wealth of the region. An amenity centre for tourists has also been planned.

“Odisha is being recognised worldwide as an emerging destination for tourism. The state government is planning a dedicated network of roads and corridors to improve connectivity to the various tourist spots besides developing infrastructure at these places. As part of the effort to boost tourism potential in the state, we are starting these interpretation centres. The aim is to develop all major tourism hubs within the city and on the outskirts and handle the tourist inflow,” said OTDC general manager M.R. Patnaik.

There is a major renovation plan for the Dhauli peace pagoda. The lake at the foothills of the Buddhist site will be cleaned. A space will be made for parking as tourists face a lot of problems because of traffic congestion in the area. There will be two separate pathways for tourists to walk between the ghat on river Daya and the pagoda and between Asokan Pillar and the craft bazaar. A sculptor park is also part of the plan, which would be developed near the river bank.

“The renovation plan for Dhauli will cost nearly Rs 3 crore,” said a senior OTDC engineer.

Barunei Hills near Khurda has been another sought-after tourist spot. Now, with the Khurda-Jatni corridor buzzing with activities, mainly because of the development of the IIT-Bhubaneswar campus and the National Institute of Science Education and Research campus, the tourism department is planning to develop an interpretation centre with amenities for tourists.

“We will provide drinking water facilities for picnickers and adequate parking space. The project for Barunei will cost around Rs 80 lakh,” said OTDC senior executive engineer J.K. Das.

Barunei Hills was associated with the rich history of the freedom struggle of the state, especially Khurda that had the rare distinction of remaining the last independent fort of the country.