Bhubaneswar: Odisha is a land of rich cultural heritage and home to exquisite temples and extraordinary monuments. It is the hub of tourist destinations like world famous Sun Temple Konark and Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon Chilika lake. Yet not a single monument from the State found place in the list of 17 sites to be developed as iconic tourist destinations as proposed in the Union Budget 2019-20.
The Odisha Government has expressed its serious concerns over the sheer ignorance of the Centre.
“How can Odisha, which is so rich in natural and architectural heritage like Konark Temple and Chilika Lake be completely left out?, questioned Odisha Tourism and Culture Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi.
The State Government will take up the matter with the Central Government and in all other forums, he said.
Coming down heavily on the Centre for its partiality towards Odisha, the ruling Biju Janata Dal has decided to raise the issue in the Parliament and demand the Central Government to reconsider the decision.
The people across the State and outside also termed the Centre’s decision to exclude Odisha from the list is really shocking and unfortunate. The list was prepared without consulting Odisha.
Notably, the Ministry of Tourism had identified 17 sites in 12 states for development under the Iconic Tourist Sites Development Project. The sites include Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Ajanta & Ellora (Maharashtra), Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort & Qutub Minar (Delhi), Colva Beach (Goa), Somnath and Dholavira (Gujarat), Khajuraho; Karnataka- Hampi (Madhya Pradesh).
Other sites are Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, Kaziranga in Assam, Kumarakom in Kerala and Mahabodhi in Bihar.