BHUBANESWAR: If things go as per plan, Odisha will soon have eco-tourism centres at most of its popular tourist sites. The State government on Thursday asked Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) to acquire non-forest land near tourism destinations and develop the areas for setting up hospitality units. At present, the State has 47 eco-tourism destinations in 18 districts.
The proposals for developing new eco-spots with night stay facilities at Deomali, Karlapat and Nawana were approved at a high level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra. The Chief Secretary directed the officials concerned to scale up community-based management (CBM) model with active participation and capacity building of the community members dealing with tourists.
"The CBM model has provided alternative and sustainable livelihood to many people who otherwise were dependent on forest. It has also empowered people and infused a sense of belonging towards forest and wildlife," he said.
Under the CBM model around 90 per cent of revenue generated from eco-spots is being shared with members of the respective communities managing the facilities. As the eco-spots have been attracting both domestic and international tourists recording manifold increase in the number of footfalls and revenue generation, Mahapatra asked the Forest, Environment and Climate Change department to immediately release funds for development of the newly approved locations.
The tourism centres have become a source of livelihood for many tribal families in Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Malkangiri, Kandhamal, Bargarh, Nayagarh, Koraput and 10 other districts. More than 600 people have been engaged for management of the spots.
Additional Chief Secretary Mona Sharma said the eco-retreat event started by the government has invoked private investment in the sector. Hospitality centres and hotels have come up near Daringbadi and Konark. Some investors have also expressed interest in starting private ventures in other spots like Deomali, she said.
The number of visitors at the eco-destinations has increased from 11,500 in 2016-17 to around 57,000 including foreigners in 2020-21 despite the pandemic. The eco-tourism website showed around 22.82 lakh hits from 30 countries in the world.
Tourists from 18 countries including France, Germany, Iran, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium and South Africa visited the eco-spots with night halts last year. The revenue generated from eco-tourism has also increased from Rs 1.57 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 8.32 crore in 2020-21.
298 cops pass out of state police academy
BHUBANESWAR: As many as seven DSPs and 291 sub-inspectors passed out from the Biju Patnaik State Police Academy (BPSPA) on Thursday. The passing out parade of 5th batch of DSP probationers and 10th batch of cadet sub-inspectors was held at BPSPA which was attended by Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal, DGP Abhay and ADG of Police Training Arun Kumar Sarangi.
After being selected by Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC), seven DSP probationers joined BPSPA and underwent their basic course training from September 19, 2019. They also attended anti-extremist and tactics course training at Special Operation Group (SOG) in Chandaka.