ROURKELA: Tourism remains one of the neglected sectors in Sundargarh district. A host of sites having immense tourism potential can turn good revenue earner, if those are promoted in the national circuit.
According to sources in the Tourism Department, out of 15 sites in the district's tourism map, Amco-Simco village in Kuanrmunda block is the latest inclusion. Despite having historical importance, the village remains neglected till date.
In 1939, the tribals under the leadership of Nirmal Munda had revolted against the irrational levy imposed on them. The Queen of Gangpur called the tribals to Amco-Simco ground to discuss the matter. More than 3,000 people had congregated. But she ordered the British soldiers to disperse the mob and 49 tribals were killed in the firing. The demand of the villagers to term those killed as martyrs remains unfulfilled.
Officials in the Department said Junagarh in Lefripara block has an ancient fort with stone carving, while Ushakothi located about 37 kms from Sundargarh town has evidence of ancient pictography and the barren Chhatri hill in Bargaon block has palaeogeographic marks which can attract researchers if promoted in the right way. The bio-rich reserve Mrigkhoj near Tensa with a waterfall also remains inaccessible.
The district administration has spent about `1.47 crore through different agencies towards development of approach roads to Ghoghar Dham, Deodhar, Ushakothi, Junagarh and Chhatri hill in a bid to popularise the places. Besides, `10 lakh was invested to set up picnic 'pindis' and toilets at Darjing. But the places need much more to attract tourists from the State and outside.
The sources said a large number of tourists from the district and outside visited Ghoghar, Darjing, Deodhar, Ushakothi, Junagarh and Chhatri last year and the number is expected to rise this year.
Tourism in the three popular sites of Khandadhar, Pitamahal dam and Vedvyas in Sundargarh district is looking up with addition of infrastructure and other facilities.
Vedvyas and Pitamahal dam annually receive about 4.47 lakh and three lakh visitors respectively, while the footfall at Khandadhar stands at 2.25 lakh.
Sundargarh Collector Bhupendra Singh Poonia said a meeting would be called in a fortnight to discuss development of infrastructure to boost the tourism sector. He said the administration would also involve local communities to ensure safety of tourists.
A preliminary study on the historical significance of Ushakothi, Junagarh and Chhatri hill will be conducted before sending the proposals to the Archaeological Survey of India for extensive study, Poonia added.