BHUBANESWAR: The Tourism Department has decided to stop big buses ferrying tourists to Dhauli hilltop and instead use small buses for the purpose.
Eight 32-seater buses, similar to the ones run by Dream Team Sahara in the Twin City, will be procured by the Department soon and handed over to the Dhauli Development Committee. Tourism Minister Ashok Panda said the committee on its part will run these buses through a bidding process. The decision was taken following frequent mishaps on the hills. At least five persons had died in three accidents at Dhauli in the last two years. Even as the department had earlier decided to run battery-operated vehicles on the stretch, the plan has been put on hold due to unavailability of the vehicles.
Bigger buses ferrying tourists will be stopped from going up the steep terrain and parked near the renovated pond on the left of the entrance to the Dhauli foothills. From there, smaller buses will take the tourists to the site, the Minister added.
On the proposed ropeway to the Pagoda that was announced last year, the Department will soon float the ‘request for proposal’ to invite interested agencies. The ropeway will be constructed from bus stand at ground to the hilltop.
This apart, to make the site even more attractive, the Peace Pagoda will be illuminated in the evening with rice lights like the Rabindra Mandap and vendors near the Pagoda shifted to the market complex at the foothills. The tourist cell in the Dhauli police station will also be strengthened in days to come, he added.