BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) has approached the Forest department to develop an eco-camp at Sipakuda island near Rambha in Chilika lake.
Besides islands which have been named as Breakfast, Honeymoon, Somolo, Ghantasila, Chhalikakuda and Gopakuda inside the lake, the mouth of the Chilika near Sipakuda is an added attraction for tourists, who come to the lake round-the-year for watching dolphins and migratory birds.
Sources said a private tourist operator was earlier running an eco-camp named Saga in the island. It offered accommodation in 10 tents, each meant for four guests, with all comforts such as attached toilets, water and electricity. Four boats, including a raft, were also provided. However, the camp had to be closed down in 2007 over environmental concerns.
Though having huge tourism potential, this island, which adds to the charm of Chilika, has been neglected ever since. Sources in the OTDC said the closure of the camp had also affected livelihood of Sipakuda villagers. It was a community-based eco-tourism project as the private operator had employed 100-odd villagers of Sipakuda for maintenance work of the camp, they added.
OTDC general manager M R Patnaik said the Tourism department wants to set up eco-friendly huts in the island, besides developing the infrastructure.
The OTDC official said talks are on between the OTDC and the Forest department over the project. “The project proposal has been submitted to the Forest department and a decision is expected soon,” he added. The OTDC would develop the eco-camp keeping in view that it does not affect the habitat.