Odisha’s eco-tourism model emerges as the best practice

The Samikhsya Bureau

BHUBANESWAR: Eco-tourism has made a success stride in Odisha with rewarding livelihood opportunities to 600 local communities and immense benefit to the wildlife and forest conservation.

The journey started from 2016 under the trend setting guidance of Chief Secretary  Suresh Chandra Mahapatra from the time of his tenure as Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) forest & environment department.

This was known from a high level meeting held in Lokseba Bhawan today under the Chairmanship of Mahapatra in which ACS Mona Sharma outlined the present eco-tourism scenario in the State along with its administrative and financial contours for discussion.

Reviewing the progress, the Chief Secretary directed the DFOs, Collectors and Engineers of Water Resource department to identify more spots having greater potential for development to eco-tourism and eco-recreation centers.

Further, he directed officers of concerned departments to identify around 100 suitable sites in water bodies through joint enquiry for setting up of the jetties and boating facilities. The forest department was also directed to identify around 15 forest tracks for giving jungle safari experience to the tourists.

Mahapatra made it clear that the locations should be identified on the basis of “objective criteria of exotic experience to the tourists, and, their competitiveness for being popularized in international market”.

Presenting updates about the intervention, PCCF Wild Life Sashi Paul said, “As of now 47 destinations spreading over 18 districts including important tribal areas like Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Malkangiri, Kandhamal, Bargarh, Nayagarh have been operationalized  in the State”.

These locations have 333 cottages with accommodation capacity for 705 persons. Four spots namely Nrusinghnath in Bargarh districts, Koraput Pine Forest in Koraput, Patora Dam site in Nuapada district and Tensa in Sundargarh district are at the finishing stage for commissioning.  These spots will have night halt facility for the tourists.