State Government Endorses Eco-Tour At Disputed Kotia & 12 New Sites

by Aishwariya Dhal

The State government has pronounced to lift the veil on some of Odisha’s “best-kept secrets” and present its precious creation to the world. The State has decided to create eco-tour and nature camp facilities in 13 more places including one at the disputed Kotia panchayat in Koraput.

On Friday, a manifesto was approved by Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra in a meeting with the Forest department officials. The Chief Secretary acquiesced the establishment of eco-tourism with night stay facilities at 10 new places and nature camps in three more places for the tourists.

The new eco-tourism facilities approved include sites like Deomali hilltop, Kotia panchayat in Koraput, Jakam in Kalahandi, Nawana in Similipal North, Silviculture garden in Phulbani, Astaranga Muhana in Puri, Khadakhai dam in Rairangpur, Mahendragiri in Ganjam, Kanjipani Ghat and Hadagarh dam in Keonjhar forest division. All of these ecotourism sites will offer accommodation.

New nature camps will be opened at Rani Duduma in Koraput, Dhaltangarh in Cuttack and Bhandarpahar near Jhadeswari Temple in Nayagarh Forest.

Sashi Paul, PCCF said there are a total of 50 eco-tour destinations and nature camps in the state, with the establishment of 13 new facilities will bring that number to 63. The attendance at ecotourism facilities and nature camps across the state has increased by nearly 142% over the past five years. The number increased from 11,500 in 2017-18 to 29,024 in 2018-19 and 57,000 in 2020-21 and still continued to rise to 70,216 in 2021-22.

Ecotourism revenue increased from Rs 3.40 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 10.52 crore in 2021-22. The expenditure of the State government is around Rs 9.5 crore to develop the destinations and now online booking facilities are also launched for these places.

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