BHUBANESWAR: Amid the raging controversy over omission of tourist destinations from Odisha, Minister for Tourism, Odia Language, Literature and Culture Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi on Tuesday urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to intervene in the matter.
In a letter to the chief minister, Panigrahi stated that though the centre, in its Budget 2019-20, has announced to develop 17 sites as iconic tourist destinations in a holistic manner with focus on connectivity, infrastructure and facilities for visitors, not a single site from the state has been included in the list.
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“Odisha has places like Konark Sun Temple, a World Heritage Site, Bhitarkanika, Chilika, Buddhist circuit and Similipal biosphere which have great tourism potential at par with the sites selected by the Centre. One or two such sites should have been selected,” he said.
Expressing dismay over the alleged apathy of the centre, the minister said he had met Union Minister for Tourism and Culture Prahalad Singh Patel during his recent visit to New Delhi and discussed the development of tourism sector of the State.
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“Though more than one spot has been selected from other states, it is disappointing to find Odisha ignored. I have requested the Chief Minister to take up the matter with the Union Government for inclusion of one or two tourist places from the State in the iconic destinations list,” Panigrahi said.
Meanwhile, Puri MP Pinaki Misra has also written separate letters to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the Union Tourism Minister urging them to include a couple of major tourist destinations from Odisha in order to do justice to the sentiments of the people of the State.
A report headlined ‘Iconic omission of Odisha from Centre list’ published in The New Indian Express on Monday sparked off a controversy with leaders cutting across party lines demanding inclusion of tourist destinations from the State.